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Honorable (Ret.) Judith K. Fitzgerald

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Awards & Achievements

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Former Bankruptcy Judge bringing more than 25 years of experience on the bench to assist clients in and out of bankruptcy court; seasoned litigator, mediator, arbitrator, expert witness, and consultant. 

Judge Fitzgerald has more than 25 years of experience as a Bankruptcy Judge presiding over commercial and consumer matters in the Western District of Pennsylvania (where she was chief judge for five years) as well as in the District of Delaware (20 years), the Eastern District of Pennsylvania (8 years), and the U.S. Virgin Islands (9 years). Judi has unique experience in mass tort bankruptcies, having adjudicated more cases involving section 524(g) asbestos trusts than any other bankruptcy judge in the country and now consulting with future claims representatives, mass tort plaintiffs’ counsel, insurers, and trustees as new cases and trusts develop. Judi has an extensive trial background and frequently served as a settlement judge and mediator. She was the sole judge hearing all chapter 13 cases in the Western District of Pennsylvania and Delaware for many years and continues to mediate consumer disputes in state and federal courts. 

Before her appointment as a bankruptcy judge in 1987, Judi was an Assistant United States Attorney in the Western District of Pennsylvania, litigating with a concentration in complex frauds and criminal tax cases. She has completed several mediation training courses, including the intensive, 40-hour Bankruptcy Mediation Training course offered by St. John's University and the American Bankruptcy Institute, courses by the PA Council of Mediators, the Council of Mediators of Western Pennsylvania, and others. She continues to train and to teach mediation skills and now serves as a mediator, arbitrator, and judge in moot trials and appellate arguments in addition to her services as an expert witness and consultant. She has been appointed as a court expert in fee disputes, toxic tort matters, and discovery disputes. She is a member of FedArb, an association of former federal judges who provide expert witness, consultation, mediation, and arbitration services. Judi also assists with multiemployer and trust fund clients regarding ERISA collection and withdrawal liability claims both in and out of bankruptcy court.

In addition to practicing law, Judge Fitzgerald taught contracts, commercial law, and bankruptcy courses at the Indiana Tech Law School as a tenured full professor of law. She now holds the position of Professor at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law where she teaches basic bankruptcy and advanced bankruptcy law.

Representative Experience

During her tenure as a bankruptcy judge, Fitzgerald presided over many significant corporate cases and other complex bankruptcies, she presided over:

  • American Pad & Paper Co.
  • Armstrong World Industries
  • Busy Beaver Bldg. Centers, Inc.
  • Color Tile, Inc.
  • Combustion Engineering, Inc.
  • Federal-Mogul Corporation
  • Fleming Steel Company
  • The Flintkote Company
  • Innovative Communications Corp.
  • Italian Oven
  • Just For Feet, Inc.
  • Kaiser Aluminum Corporation
  • Maronda Homes
  • Owens Corning
  • Papercraft Corporation
  • Peregrine Systems, Inc.
  • PHP Healthcare Corporation
  • Pittsburgh Corning Corporation
  • Shannopin Coal Co.
  • United States Mineral Products
  • USG Corporation
  • WorldClass Processing, Inc.
  • W.R. Grace & Co.

Since joining Tucker Arensberg, Judi has used her knowledge analyzing legal problems and finding solutions throughout the country. Judi is actively involved as counsel, expert consultant, expert witness, mediator, arbitrator, and judge in moot proceedings, a sample of which follows:

  • Becker Boiler Co.
  • Blacklick Hotspot Corporation
  • Blue Dog at 399, Inc.
  • Boy Scouts of America
  • Center City Hospital, LLC d/b/a Hahnemann University Hospital
  • Colonial Chevrolet Co., Inc.
  • DCK/TTEC, LLC
  • Ed’s Beans FC Station Square
  • Exide Technologies, LLC
  • Frasers Boiler Service, Inc.
  • Greenpoint Tactical Income Fund LLC.
  • HARSCO Corporation
  • Healthcare Real Estate Partners, LLC
  • Helena Industries
  • Intelsat S.A.
  • James F. Humphries & Associates, LC
  • Lehman Brothers Holdings, Inc.
  • LTL Management LLC.
  • New Cingular Wireless PCS, LLC d/b/a AT&T Mobility
  • North American Refractories Co. (NARCO)
  • OneJet, Inc.
  • USA v. Perry Homes Inc.
  • Pittsburgh Corning Corporation
  • Protea Biosciences, Inc.
  • Protea Biosciences Group, Inc.
  • Repsol Oil & Gas USA, LLC
  • Riverhounds Event Center, LP
  • Salem Consumer Square OH LLC
  • Shoppingtown Mall NY LLC
  • Tenaska Energy, Inc.
  • The August Wilson Center (as Receiver)
  • The Medical Protective Company
  • Three Rivers Ice Cream Service Inc.
  • Woodbridge Group of Companies, LLC
  • W.R. Grace & Co.
  • YMCA of Greater Pittsburgh

Selected Publications

  • Harvard Law School Bankruptcy Roundtable (February 14, 2023), “Over-Thinking Ramifications of the Dismissal of LTL Management LLC's Bankruptcy”
  • Tucker Arensberg Blogpost, “LTL’s Bankruptcy Case Was Dismissed In An Opinion Of The Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit” (January 30, 2023)
  • Credit Slips (January 15, 2023), “The Texas Two-Step’s Liquidation Problem” (co-author with Adam J. Levitin)
  • Harvard Law School Bankruptcy Roundtable (November 1, 2022), “The Texas Two-Step: A Different Look at Bankruptcy Code Section 548” (co-author with Adam J. Levitin)
  • American Bankruptcy Institute Mediation Committee Newsletter: “A Conversation with Hon. Louis Kornreich (Ret.)” (June 2022)
  • Judith K. Fitzgerald (Ret.)’s Responses to Written Questions of Senator Thom Tillis following the Hearing of the Senate Committee on the Judiciary, Subcommittee on Federal Courts, Oversight, Agency Action and Federal Rights, Supplement to “Abusing Chapter 11: Corporate Efforts to Side-Step Accountability Through Bankruptcy”
  • Written Testimony of Hon. Judith Klaswick Fitzgerald (Ret.) Before the Senate Committee on the Judiciary, Subcommittee on Federal Courts, Oversight, Agency Action and Federal Rights “Abusing Chapter 11: Corporate Efforts to Side-Step Accountability Through Bankruptcy” (February 8, 2022)
  • Behavior Reminders for the Young Lawyer, The Bencher (July/August 2021 Ethics Issue)
  • IWIRC Western Pennsylvania Network Newsletter, Issue No. 14 (February 2021) and Tucker Arensberg Blogpost, “Informal But Actual Notice of Bankruptcy: What Difference Does It Make?” (January 2021)
  • Tucker Arensberg Blogpost, “Time to Appeal Under Bankruptcy Rule 8002(a)(1): What the Right Hand Giveth, the Left Hand Taketh Away” (October 2020)
  • “I Am the American Inns of Court: Come Along with Me,” The Bencher (July/August 2020)
  •  Tucker Arensberg Blogpost, “Barton Doctrine Applies to Special Discovery Mediators in Bankruptcy Courts” (April 2020)
  • Tucker Arensberg Blogpost, “Global Pressures Are Pushing Business Toward Insolvency – How Can You Prepare?” (March 2020)
  • Tucker Arensberg Blogpost, “Help is on the Way to Troubled Borrowers!” (March, 2020) (co-author with Beverly Weiss Manne)
  • Tucker Arensberg Blogpost, “Cash Is King.  How Can I Get Some?” (March, 2020)
  • “Fostering Diversity in ADR: Lessons from the Mansfield Rule,” XXXVIX ABI Journal 1, 36-37, 68-69, January 2020.
  • Tucker Arensberg Blogpost, "Losing Your Right to Appeal Through Silence"
  • The Rutter Group National Practice Guide - Bankruptcy (ThomsonReuters)
  • Co-author Bankruptcy and Divorce, Support and Property Division (Aspen)
  • The American Bankruptcy Law Journal, Associate Editor

Presentations

Judi regularly develops and participates in professional education presentations including for the American Bankruptcy Institute, the Commercial Law League of America, the Association of Insolvency and Restructuring Advisors, the Allegheny County Bar Association Bankruptcy and Commercial Law Section, the American Inns of Court, and others. 

She will be presenting:

  • The National Conference of Bankruptcy Judges Behind the Bench program: "Looking Back to Move Ahead: What Can We Learn from Dow Corning, Johns Manville, and the Early Mass Tort Cases?"
  • The Commercial Law League program: "Mediating Bankruptcy Disputes: A Ghost-runner on Second or Need a New Game?"

Judi recently presented, among others:

  • The American Inns of Court Around the Circuits in 80 Days Third Circuit session captioned "Working Hard or Hardly Working:  Ethical Issues in the Remote Law Practice"
  • The Turn Around Management Association 2022 NOW Summit: " The Texas Two-Step: A Complex Dance with Mass Tort Liabilities"
  • Association of Insolvency and Restructuring Advisors 38th Annual Bankruptcy and Restructuring Conference: "The Texas Two-Step: A Divisive Topic Any Way You Merge it" and "The Judges' Roundtable"
  • Thomson Reuters, The Rutter Group Bankruptcy Tool Box: "Strategies for Solving Problems in Modern Bankruptcy"
  • The Allegheny County Bar Association Bankruptcy Symposium: "Whose Money Is It Anyway: Insurance Issues in Bankruptcy"

Specialty Services

In addition to the services listed on the side of the page, Judi also:

  • Provides early neural evaluation ADR (alternative dispute resolution)
  • Offers asset protection and debtor representation
  • Handles creditors' rights and claims
  • Is a consultant in bankruptcy and civil litigation strategy
  • Is an expert witness in fee disputes, insurance, legal malpractice, mass torts, and trusts
  • Is a mediator, arbitrator, and moot judge in bankruptcy, complex litigation, and consumer matters

Education

University of Pittsburgh School of Law (JD)
University of Pittsburgh (BS)
University of Pittsburgh (BA)

Bar Admissions

Pennsylvania

Court Admissions

U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit
U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania
U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania
U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania
U.S. Supreme Court
U.S. Tax Court
Pro Hac Vice Admissions in various courts across the country

Office Location

  • Pittsburgh

Services

  • Arbitration, Mediation, and Alternative Dispute Resolution
  • Bankruptcy & Restructuring
  • Commercial Litigation
  • ERISA Litigation

Industries

  • Finance

Departments

  • Bankruptcy & Restructuring

AWARDS & RECOGNITION

Professional & Community Affiliations

  •  American Law Institute, Member
  • American College of Bankruptcy, Fellow and Member of Judicial Outreach Committee
  • American Inns of Court, Co-Founder of Judith K. Fitzgerald Bankruptcy American Inn of Court
  • Commercial Law League of America, Co-Chair of NCBJ Education Planning Committee and Former Chair of the Bankruptcy Section Executive Council
  • National Conference of Bankruptcy Judges, Former President, Treasurer, and Founder of the Next Generation Program
  • American Bankruptcy Law Journal, Former Assistant Editor
  • American Bankruptcy Institute, Founder, Law Student Writing Competition and the Mid-Atlantic Regional Conference
  • American Bankruptcy Institute, Former Board Member, Co-Chair of ABI Mass Tort Committee and Editor of Mediation Committee Newsletter
  • Judith K. Fitzgerald Western Pennsylvania Bankruptcy American Inn of Court, Co-Founder and Member
  • Allegheny County Bar Association, Member and Former Chair of the Audit Committee
  • International Women's Insolvency and Restructuring Confederation - Member and Co-Founder of Western Pennsylvania Network
  • Turnaround Management Association, Member
  • Bankruptcy Judges’ Advisory Committee of the Administrative Office of the United States Courts, Former Member and Past Chair 
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, Former Chair of the Education Committee
  • Federal Bar Association, Member
  • Mediation Council of Western Pennsylvania, Member
  • Bar Association of the Third Federal Circuit, Member
  • PA Council of Mediators, Member
  • ABA Center for Professional Responsibility, Member

Education

University of Pittsburgh School of Law (JD)
University of Pittsburgh (BS)
University of Pittsburgh (BA)

Bar Admissions

Pennsylvania

Court Admissions

U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit
U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania
U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania
U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania
U.S. Supreme Court
U.S. Tax Court
Pro Hac Vice Admissions in various courts across the country

Office Location

  • Pittsburgh

Services

  • Arbitration, Mediation, and Alternative Dispute Resolution
  • Bankruptcy & Restructuring
  • Commercial Litigation
  • ERISA Litigation

Industries

  • Finance

Departments

  • Bankruptcy & Restructuring

AWARDS & RECOGNITION

Professional & Community Affiliations

  •  American Law Institute, Member
  • American College of Bankruptcy, Fellow and Member of Judicial Outreach Committee
  • American Inns of Court, Co-Founder of Judith K. Fitzgerald Bankruptcy American Inn of Court
  • Commercial Law League of America, Co-Chair of NCBJ Education Planning Committee and Former Chair of the Bankruptcy Section Executive Council
  • National Conference of Bankruptcy Judges, Former President, Treasurer, and Founder of the Next Generation Program
  • American Bankruptcy Law Journal, Former Assistant Editor
  • American Bankruptcy Institute, Founder, Law Student Writing Competition and the Mid-Atlantic Regional Conference
  • American Bankruptcy Institute, Former Board Member, Co-Chair of ABI Mass Tort Committee and Editor of Mediation Committee Newsletter
  • Judith K. Fitzgerald Western Pennsylvania Bankruptcy American Inn of Court, Co-Founder and Member
  • Allegheny County Bar Association, Member and Former Chair of the Audit Committee
  • International Women's Insolvency and Restructuring Confederation - Member and Co-Founder of Western Pennsylvania Network
  • Turnaround Management Association, Member
  • Bankruptcy Judges’ Advisory Committee of the Administrative Office of the United States Courts, Former Member and Past Chair 
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, Former Chair of the Education Committee
  • Federal Bar Association, Member
  • Mediation Council of Western Pennsylvania, Member
  • Bar Association of the Third Federal Circuit, Member
  • PA Council of Mediators, Member
  • ABA Center for Professional Responsibility, Member

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