John R. Knapp, Jr.
John Knapp is a partner in Miller Nash's Seattle office and served for many years as the leader of the firm's bankruptcy & creditors’ rights practice team. John advises businesses and individuals on business bankruptcy and commercial law matters, with an emphasis on Chapter 11 reorganization. John represents secured lenders, licensors, suppliers, and receivers. He focuses on maximizing recovery of unpaid balances, preservation of asset value, and protecting clients against additional losses. He served as the judicial law clerk to Judge Peter J. Walsh (deceased) of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware in 1997-1998.
Bankruptcy & Creditors’ Rights Plus
Represented secured creditor in the sale of assets of an oil company in Chapter 11, subsequently converted to Chapter 7. Objected to the Chapter 11 sale of real property because the creditor did not consent and the price would not satisfy the lien in full. The court denied the motion and converted the case to Chapter 7. Assisted in negotiation and obtained approval of the sale of collateral by the Chapter 7 trustee, resulting in payment of the creditor nearly in full and a large carveout for creditors of the estate.
Kept state-court receiver in place to preserve creditor client's collateral during a Chapter 11 case. Objected to the debtor in possession’s cash collateral motion to make repairs, due to no adequate protection or business justification. Obtained documents by subpoena and deposed the debtor’s principal and appraiser. After an evidentiary hearing, the court denied the motion and granted relief from stay instead. The bankruptcy case converted to Chapter 7, and creditor foreclosed.
Represented secured creditor in seeking to affirm on appeal a receivership sale order that included an excise tax exemption. King County Superior Court granted the receiver an excise tax exemption on the sale of Clark County real estate, subject to the client’s judgment. The state appealed. The issue was whether the receiver’s sale was “upon execution of a judgment” under RCW 82.45.010(3)(j). Wrote response brief and offered oral argument on this issue of first impression. Court of Appeals reversed the exemption order in a published opinion.
Represented consulting firm as receiver for 15 American Eagle Mortgage entities. The entities own real estate and real estate contracts/loans. Placed the entities into voluntary receivership in Clark County Superior Court through an assignment for the benefit of creditors. The receiver has been selling the real property and collecting on the real estate contracts in order to generate proceeds to distribute because of millions of dollars in investor claims.
Represent landlords in receivership and bankruptcy proceedings. The primary goal is to ensure timely payment of rent during the case and cure of defaults for leases that are assumed and assigned. Assist landlords with calculation of claims and recovery of collateral when leases are rejected and tenants vacate the premises. Handle these cases locally in state and bankruptcy courts, as well as in national bankruptcy cases, usually in Delaware, where large Chapter 11 retail cases are common.
Represent licensors of intellectual property, service providers, and suppliers in receivership and bankruptcy cases locally and in Delaware and the Southern District of New York, among other places. The initial priority in newly filed Chapter 11 cases is to investigate the possibility of critical vendor status and negotiate payment terms going forward in the bankruptcy. Assist client with filing proofs of claim and monitoring notices in the case in order to object where necessary to ensure that amounts in default are paid as a condition to the assumption and assignment of any contracts between the clients and the debtors in connection with a sale of assets or plan of reorganization, or that licenses are not assigned without the client’s consent. Service providers and suppliers may also have unique liens and rights to reclaim goods, which require legal analysis and protection. On the back of a bankruptcy, helps clients resolve demands for alleged “preferential transfers” (payments made in the 90 days before bankruptcy that may be subject to refund), including obtaining settlements at substantially reduced amount or even dismissal of lawsuits.
- U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Western District of Washington, Local Bankruptcy Rules Committee, 2023
- King County Bar Association
- Bankruptcy Law Section, Member
- Immediate Past Chair, 2019-2020
- Chair, 2018-2019
- Vice Chair, 2017-2018
- Treasurer, 2016-2017
- Bankruptcy Law Section, Member
- Washington State Bar Association
- Creditor Debtor Rights Section Executive Committee, King County Representative, 2011-2013, 2019-2021
- Northwest Bankruptcy Institute Planning Committee, Member, 2019-2021
- American Bar Association, Business Bankruptcy Committee
- International Bankruptcy Subcommittee, Chair, 2020-present
- Co-webmaster, 2013-2020
- IP and Technology Subcommittee, Cochair, 2008-2020
- Federal Bar Association
- Bankruptcy Committee, Western District of Washington, Cochair, 2009-2012
- American Bankruptcy Institute, Member
- Seattle University School of Law, Real Estate Drafting Lab, Legal Writing Instructor, 2000-2002
- Kidspace Childcare Center, Board of Directors, 2013-2015
- Association of Washington Business, Board of Directors, 2003-2007
- Selected for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America® (Seattle, WA)
- Bankruptcy and Creditor Debtor Rights/Insolvency and Reorganization Law, 2020-present
- Selected for inclusion as a Washington Super Lawyer—Rising Star, 2002 and 2004-2009
- Recognized as a “Leader in Their Field” by Chambers USA for Bankruptcy/Restructuring—Washington, 2022-present
Outside the Office
John enjoys playing guitar and singing, skiing, golfing, cheering for Sounders FC soccer with his family, and finding the beauty and humor in everything.