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Bob Bruner

Senior Associate

Bob Bruner

Houston

T:+1 713 651 5216

Bob joined the Houston office in 2010 as an associate with the disputes group.  Prior to joining Norton Rose Fulbright, Bob clerked for U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge for the Southern District of Texas (Houston Division), Marvin Isgur. 

Bob has represented debtors and creditors in all aspects of complex commercial bankruptcy cases.  Based in Houston, Bob has gained particular expertise representing debtors and creditors in oil and gas and other energy cases, including disputes over the treatment of plug and abandonment liabilities, covenants running with the land, characterization of net-profit and royalty interests, state producer lien statutes, priority among competiting lien claimants, shared service agreements, executory contract issues, and asset sales. 

Bob also has significant expertise in complex fraudulent transfer lawsuits.  Bob was the lead bankruptcy attorney on the Norton Rose Fulbright team that successfully obtained dismissal and summary judgment on over $1 billion in fraudulent transfer claims arising out of a leveraged recapitalization in the Crescent Resources Litigation Trust v. Duke Energy Corp. case.  Bob also recently obtained dismissal of over $10 million in fraudulent transfer claims asserted against alleged recipients of dividend payments arising from the ATP Oil and Gas bankruptcy case following an evidentiary hearing, as well as summary judgment on a $30 million lien challenge arising out of a midstream bankruptcy case. In addition to other representations, Bob has published several articles on fraudulent transfer law, including articles discussing damage limitation issues in fraudulent transfer claims arising out of leveraged transactions and the application of the In Pari Delicto doctrine to trustees asserting fraudulent transfer claims on behalf of creditors.

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  • Education

    JD, with honors, University of Texas School of Law, 2007
    BS, with distinction, University of Wisconsin, Madison, 2004

    During law school, Bob was an Associate Editor of the Texas Law Review. Bob also interned with the Court of Criminal Appeals and the U.S. Attorney's office and represented individuals at commitment hearings with the University of Texas School of Law Mental Health Clinic. At the University of Wisconsin, Bob received individual majors in history, psychology, political science and legal studies and was a member of Phi Beta Kappa.   

  • Representative experience

    Recent Significant Oil, Gas, and Energy Representations

    In re Cobalt International, Inc., et al., Case No. 17-36709, Bankr. S.D. Tex. – represented major oil and gas exploration company with respect to defending rights of first refusal, participation in auction process, and P&A liabilities. 

    In re Connect Transport, LLC, et al., Case No. 16-33971, Bankr. N.D. Texas  – represented pre-petitoin and DIP lender of  midstream oil and gas storage and transportation company, including defense of lien challenges and priority disputes with oil and gas producers asserting first purchaser liens under Okahoma and Texas statutes.

    In re GenOn Energy, Inc, Case No. 17-33695, Bankr. S.D. Tex. - represented, as co-counsel, owner lessors of non-debtor coal and natural gas plants with respect to pursuing substantial fraudulent transfer, breach of contract, and related claims arising from debtor's  alleged improper dividend distributions, charges under a shared services agreement, and breach of credit support obligations.

    In re Panda Temple Power LLC et al., Case No. 17-10839, Bankr. D. Del. - represnted debtors' energy manager with respect to negotation of an agreed termination of energy managment and related agreements and release of claims.

    In re Ryckman Creek Resources, LLC, et al., case No. 16-10292, Bankr. D. Del.– represented major oil and gas exploration company in connection with obtaining termination of a storage agreement and release of claims.

    In re Ultra Petroleum Corp., et al., Case No. 16-32202, Bankr. S.D. Tex.  – represented, as co-counsel, ad hoc committee of bond holders,  in connection wtih obtaining payment in full of the bond holder claims as  "unimpaired creditors, " including a $400 million claim for a make-whole premium.

    In re Peabody Energy Corp., et al, Case No. 16-42529, U.S. Bankr. E.D. Missouri  - represented net-profit interest holder with respect to dispute over characterization of the interest as a real property interest under Wyoming state law and obtained a favorable settlement that resulted in the payment of hundreds of thousands of dollars in past-due amounts and preservation of the net-profit interest.     

    In re Energy XXI., et al., Case No. 16-31928, Bankr. S.D. Tex. – represented, as co-counsel, ad hoc committee of second lien noteholders in connection with obtaining 84% of the reorganized debtors' equity. 

    In re MidStates Petroleum Co., et al., Case No. 16-32237, and In re SandRidge Energy, Inc., et al., Case No. 16-32488, U.S. Bankr. S.D. Tex.   - represented one of the debtors' primary electricity providers in connection with negotiating increased adequate assurance deposits, payment of outstanding cure amounts, surety bonds for future security, and the release of any preference or other avoidance claims.

    Trinity River Resources, LP., Case No. 16-10472, Bankr. W.D. Tex. - represented operator and working interest owner with respect to claims for unpaid royalties and related obligations. 

    Black Elk Energy Offshore Operations, LLC, Case No. 15-34287, Bankr. S.D. Texas  —represented operator and co-working interest owner with respect to certain offshore leases and platforms that had significant (in excess of $20 million) P&A obligations, including in connection with negotiating the acquisition of certain of the debtors' revenue-generating interests, waiver of claims, as well as an allowed claim for contingent P&A obligations. 

    Significant Avoidance Action and Adversary Proceeding Defense Representations

    Tow v. Lozier ADL LLC, et al (In re ATP Oil & Gas Corp.), Adv. No. 15-03179, Bankr. S.D. Texas - obtained dismissal of over $10 million in avoidance claims asserted against over a dozen financial institutions that allegedly received dividend payments from ATP following motion to dismiss briefing and an evidentiary hearing on the Trustee's assertion of an equitable tolling defense.

    Searcy v. Bank of America, N.A. et al , Adv. No. 16-03158, Bankr. N.D. Texas – obtained summary judgment on Creditors Committee's challenge to pre-petition lender's  lien on a LNG terminal with a value exceeding $20 million. 

    Crescent Resources Litigation Trust v. Duke Energy Corporation, et al., Case No. 12-CA-009, W.D. Tex. - obtained summary judgment on over a billion dollas in fraudulent transfer claims asserted against Duke Energy based on a leveraged recapatlizatin.

    Trevino v. HSBC Mortgage Services, Inc., Adv. No. 13-07031, Bankr.S.D. Tex. - respsented mortgage service provider in connection with over a dozen claims, including abuse of process, violation of federal and state debt collection statutes, and orders of the court and subsequently obtained a favorable settlement following dismissal of the majoirty of the claims and mediation.

    Sommers v. Westwood One, Inc., Adv. No. 14-03065, Bankr. S.D. Tex. - represented media company with respect to significant fraudulent transfer claims arising from the purchase of ads and obtained favorable settlement following mediation.

    Askanase v. Syngenta Crop Protection, LLC, Adv. No. 12-03183, Bankr. S.D. Tex. - represented Syngenta Crop Protection with respect to joint venture and avoidance actions and obtained favorable settlement following mediation.

    Significant Debtor Representations

     • In re Argent Energy Holdings, Inc., Case No. 16-20060, Bankr. S.D. Tex.  - represented Canadian-appointed foreign representative of two oil and gas exploration and production companies in U.S. Chapter 15 proceeidngs.

    In re Buccanner Resources, et al., Case No. 14-60041, Bankr. S.D. Tex. -  represented oil and gas exploration company with both onshore and offshore assets in connection with a sale of substantially all assets and confirmation of a chapter 11 plan.

    In re Mammoth Lakes, Case No. 12-32463, Bankr. E.D. Cal.  - represented California resort town in chapter 9 municipal filing and obtained a consensual resolution of a significant judgmnet creditor's claims.

    • In re Seahawk Drilling, Inc., et al. Case No. 11-20089, Bankr. S.D. Tex. - represented one of the largest Gulf Coast drilling companies in connection with a sale of substantially all assets and confirmation of a chapter 11 plan.

  • Admissions
    • Texas State Bar
  • Publications
    • "The Unexplored Limits of Moore v. Bay: Statutory and Equitable Basis for Limiting Money Damage Awards on Fraudulent Transfer Claims," 26 Norton Journal of Bankruptcy Law and Practice, 3, June 2017
    • "Limiting Fraudulent Transfer Damages to the Amount of "Innocent" Creditor Claims," 33 American Bankruptcy Institute Jounral 3, March 2014 
    • "Seventh Circuit Protects Creditor's Choice To Gamble on Real Estate Over U.S. Treasuries," Fulbright Briefing, February 8, 2012
    • "The Collapse of the In Pari Delicto Defense to Bankruptcy Trustee Claims: How the Fifth Circuit Has Opened a New Door for Trustee Litigation," 17 Tex. Wesleyan L. Rev. 91, Winter 2011
    • "The Art of Valuations in Bankruptcy," 29th Annual Jay L. Westbrook Bankruptcy Conference, Austin, Texas, November 2010
    • Co-author, "Intercreditor Agreements: A Review of Courts' Treatment of Intercreditor Agreements," 28th Annual Advanced Business Bankruptcy Conference, Dallas, Texas, June 2010
    • Co-author, "Bankruptcy Case Update: A Review of Commercial Bankruptcy Cases from the Supreme Court, Circuit Courts, and Texas, New York, and Delaware District and Bankruptcy Courts," 4th Annual TMA Southwest Regional Conference, Austin, Texas, April 2010
    • "Supreme Court Previews I: Espinoza v. United Student Aid Funds, Inc.," State Bar of Texas Bankruptcy Law Section Newsletter, Vol. 9, No. 2, November 2009
    • "The Fifth Circuit's Limited Adoption of the 'Forward Looking' Approach to Calculating 'Project Income,'" State Bar of Texas Bankruptcy Law Section Newsletter, Vol. 9, No. 2, November 2009
    • Co-author, "Bob and Bryan's Basics: A Technology Reference Guide for New Bankruptcy Attorneys," Starting Out Right CLE, Houston, Texas, May 2009
    • Co-author, "Recent Developments in Consumer Bankruptcy Law: Consumer Bankruptcy Case Summaries," 4th Annual Consumer Bankruptcy Conference, Galveston, Texas, June 2008
  • Speaking engagements
    • "Appraisal - the Nitty Gritty in Preparation and Presentation," Southern District of Texas Bankruptcy Bench Bar Conference, Corpus Christi, Texas, Apr. 20-22, 2016
    • "Bankruptcy Law in a Nutshell," Houston ALP Certification Course, Houston, Texas, October 9, 2010
    • Co-presenter with Bryan Rogers, "Courtroom Antics," Starting Out Right CLE, Houston, Texas, May 2009
  • Memberships and activities
    • American Inns of Court – The Honorable Arthur L. Moller/David B. Foltz, Jr. Bankruptcy Inn
    • American Bankruptcy Institute
    • Houston Association of Young Bankruptcy Lawyers
    • State Bar of Texas
      • Bankruptcy Law Section of the State Bar
      • Young Lawyers Committee
    • The Southern District of Texas