ITT trustee hires ‘feared’ litigators

The Chapter 7 bankruptcy trustee for ITT Educational Services has hired “the most feared” litigators in the nation to help with investigating and prosecuting claims against the former directors and officers of the defunct for-profit school.

Robins Kaplan LLP, based in Minneapolis, has been appointed as litigation co-counsel in the ITT bankruptcy. The U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Indiana granted the trustee’s application Friday.

Carmel-based ITT filed for Chapter 7 protection in September after the U.S. Department of Education stopped the flow of federal student loan money to the school. Deborah Caruso of Rubin & Levin P.C. in Indianapolis was appointed trustee of the ITT estate and launched an investigation into its business practices.

Robins Kaplan has experience in bankruptcy matters with for-profit colleges. The trustee noted that the firm has more than 200 “highly trained trial lawyers” it can mobilize “to efficiently and aggressively pursue” the claims against former ITT officials. In its application to employ Robins Kaplan, the ITT trustee described the firm’s litigators as “the best and ‘most feared’” in the nation.

Currently, Robins Kaplan serves as counsel to the Corinthian Distribution Trust, established for the benefit of stakeholders in the bankruptcy of Corinthian Colleges Inc. This is the largest for-profit post-secondary education provider to file for Chapter 11 reorganization.

In addition, the firm’s notable victories include a $6.5 billion settlement with big tobacco; $2.7 billion arbitration award in Kraft vs. Starbucks; and $269.4 million jury verdict in Celador International, Ltd. vs. The Walt Disney Company.

“ITT was one of the country’s largest for-profit education companies, holding a total enterprise value of approximately $5 billion at its peak during the close of the third quarter of 2007,” said H. Jeffrey Schwartz, co-chair of Robins Kaplan’s restructuring and business bankruptcy group and lead counsel to the official committee of unsecured creditors of Corinthian Colleges. “We look forward to working with the trustee to efficiently and aggressively pursue all (director and officer) claims in an effort to recover stakeholder value.”
 

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