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Phillip J. Shefferly
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Phillip J. Shefferly

Latest Insights
Upcoming Events
General Biography
Practice Areas
Business & Commercial
Federal Law
Real Estate & Real Property
Honors, Memberships, and Professional Activities
Background and Education

Phillip J. Shefferly, Retired Chief Judge, U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, joins JAMS in Detroit following 18 years of distinguished service to the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, including over a decade as chief judge. As a judge on one of the heaviest bankruptcy court dockets in the country, Judge Shefferly conducted hundreds of bench trials and motion hearings in consumer and commercial cases that required prompt and thorough oral and written decisions. He presided over many large chapter 11 cases in a wide range of industries, including automotive, manufacturing, single asset and other real property, retail, professional services, hospitality, nursing home and health care. 

Before taking the bench, Judge Shefferly was in private practice for 24 years, where he focused on business reorganizations and chapter 11 matters, including representations of business debtors, secured and unsecured creditors, creditors’ committees, landlords, shareholders and other parties in interest in bankruptcy proceedings. He has extensive trial and litigation experience in both federal and state courts representing parties in commercial litigation, as well as in purchase, sale, financing and other business transactions.

A nationally recognized authority on bankruptcy law, Judge Shefferly is known for his fair and even-tempered manner when dealing with parties in distressed situations. He is adept at working with clients to find opportunities for settlement, believing mediated solutions offer the best opportunity for creative problem solving.

ADR Experience and Qualifications

  • Bankruptcy
  • Business/Commercial
  • Real Property

Representative Matters

Selected Prior Mediations

During his time on the bench, Judge Shefferly also served as a mediator for cases assigned to other federal court judges, including the following representative matters:

  • Fraudulent transfer litigation involving a leveraged buyout
  • Homeowners’ objections to water shutoffs by city
  • Breakup of law firm and disposition of assets and claims among shareholders
  • Resolution of secured claims, unsecured claims and professional fees to enable confirmation of chapter 11 plan by a debtor engaged in manufacturing in the automotive and defense industries
  • Resolution of secured claims and related sanctions litigation involving the attorneys for the secured lender and the debtor
  • Resolution of business and individual tax claims with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS)
  • Liquidation of large building contractor and competing claims against the contractor and its principals
  • Disposition of multiple real estate entities and claims involving fraudulent transfers, financing documents and personal guaranties
  • Treatment of interest on secured claims under confirmed plan in large fully solvent chapter 11 case

Since joining JAMS, Judge Shefferly has mediated disputes involving automotive suppliers, asset purchase agreements, shareholder rights, commercial lease disputes, breach of contract claims, fraudulent transfers, directors' and officers' liability claims, and the allowance and treatment in bankruptcy cases of construction claims, PACA claims and secured and unsecured claims. In addition, Judge Shefferly has provided neutral evaluation services regarding mock appellate arguments.

Selected Reported Decisions

Judge Shefferly has authored hundreds of written decisions. The following is a representative sample:

  • K & D Industrial Services Holding Co., 602 B.R. 16 (successor liability issues in a free and clear § 363 sale in chapter 11)
  • In re Cheerview Enterprises, Inc., 586 B.R. 881 (denial of chapter 11 plan based on infeasibility of projections of future operations)
  • Wells v. Salmo, 556 B.R. 826 (avoidance of fraudulent transfer of grocery store)
  • Nagel Precision v. RnD Engineering, 546 B.R. 738 (determination of nondischargeable debt and damage calculations involving claims for misappropriation of trade secrets, interference with business relations and fraud)
  • Kohut v. Lewiston, 532 B.R. 36 (determining property held by spendthrift trust to be included in bankruptcy estate)
  • Kohut v. Wayne County Treasurer, 528 B.R. 387 (denial of county’s request to dismiss fraudulent transfer claim based on defense of sovereign immunity)
  • In re Tristar Fire Protection, Inc., 466 B.R. 392 (estimating claim for unfair labor practices for purposes of confirmation of chapter 11 plan)
  • Simon v. Gerdau, 444 B.R. 347 (ordinary course defenses to preference action)
  • In re Griswold Building, LLC, 420 B.R 666 (denial of confirmation of chapter 11 plan in a single asset real estate case)
  • In re American Camshaft, 410 B.R. 765 (discussion and application of standards for substantive consolidation of multiple business entities)
  • Morganroth v. Stollman, 404 B.R. 244 (determination of nondischargeable debt involving claims for fraud, breach of fiduciary duty and willful and malicious injury)
  • In re Plastech Engineered Products, 394 B.R. 147 (allowance and treatment of § 503(b)(9) claims in chapter 11)
  • In re Plastech Engineered Products, 382 B.R. 90 (denial of stay relief to obtain tooling from a debtor in an automotive chapter 11 case)
  • In re Schmiel, 362 B.R. 802 (determination of when a mortgage is recorded where a register of deeds fails to comply with state law)
  • In re Particka, 355 B.R. 616 (treatment of secured claims in chapter 13 case where debtor surrenders the collateral)

Honors, Memberships, and Professional Activities

  • Fellow, Class XXIV, American College of Bankruptcy, 2013
  • Member, American Bankruptcy Institute, 2003–present
  • Member, Detroit Chapter, Consumer Bankruptcy Association, 2003–Present
  • Sustaining Member, Eastern District of Michigan Chapter, Federal Bar Association,1979–present
  • Member, State Bar of Michigan, 1979–present

Professional Activities

Judge Shefferly is a lecturer in Corporate Reorganization and Bankruptcy Law at the University of Michigan Law School.

Judge Shefferly is a frequent speaker on bankruptcy, business reorganizations, automotive issues, consumer and commercial finance, trial advocacy and other topics for bar associations and educational institutes, including the American Bankruptcy Institute, Federal Bar Association, State Bar of Michigan Debtor-Creditor Section, Consumer Bankruptcy Association, Michigan Judicial Institute, Turnaround Management Association and Michigan Institute of Continuing Legal Education.

Judge Shefferly has served as the chairperson for numerous educational programs, including the following:

  • Judicial Program Chair, Consumer Bankruptcy Association Veterans Day Consumer Bankruptcy Conference, American Bankruptcy Institute, 2013–2018
  • Judicial Program Chair, Central States Bankruptcy Workshop, American Bankruptcy Institute, 2005–2008
  • Judicial Chair, Mediation Committee, United States Bankruptcy Court, Eastern District of Michigan, 2009–2020
  • Judicial Chair, Bankruptcy Rules Advisory Committee, United States Bankruptcy Court, Eastern District of Michigan, 2009–2020

Judge Shefferly also coaches moot court teams for national bankruptcy law competitions and serves as an instructor for mock trial advocacy programs.

Selected Publications and Papers

  • “The Effects of the COVID-19 Pandemic on the Eastern District of Michigan Bankruptcy Court,” Norton Journal of Bankruptcy Law and Practice, Vol. 29, No. 3, June 2020
  • “Selected Issues Regarding the Effect of the Automatic Stay on Pending Non-Bankruptcy Litigation,” Federal Bar Association, Western District of Michigan Chapter, July 2018
  • “Equitable Mootness as a Basis to Dismiss an Appeal From a Confirmation Order,” 29th Annual Federal Bar Association Bankruptcy Seminar, Western District of Michigan Chapter, 2017
  • “Preclusion Issues in Consumer Cases,” 10th Annual American Bankruptcy Institute, 2014 Detroit Veterans’ Day Consumer Bankruptcy Conference, 2014
  • “Section 1111(b)(2): Current State of the ‘Election’ and Practical Considerations From the Sixth and Seventh Circuits,” 21st Annual American Bankruptcy Institute Central States Bankruptcy Workshop, 2014
  • “You Have Bills to Pay? Ethics in Getting Paid in Chapter 7, 11 and 13 Cases: A Judge’s Perspective on a Few Issues Relating to Attorney Fees,” 20th Annual American Bankruptcy Institute Central States Bankruptcy Workshop, 2013
  • “Substantive Consolidation,” 19th Annual American Bankruptcy Institute Central States Bankruptcy Workshop, 2012
  • “Ten Tips for Appearing Before the Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Michigan: A Judge’s View,” Michigan Institute of Continuing Legal Education, 2011
  • “Issues That Arise When Receiverships Cross Paths With a Bankruptcy Case,” 17th Annual American Bankruptcy Institute Central States Bankruptcy Workshop, 2010

Background and Education

  • United States Bankruptcy Judge, Eastern District of Michigan (Detroit), 2003–2020
    • Chief Judge, 2009–2020
  • Co-Founder and Shareholder; Shefferly, Silverman & Morris; 1990–2003
  • Attorney and Shareholder; Schlussel, Lifton, Simon, Rands, Galvin & Jackier; 1978–1990
  • J.D., magna cum laude, Wayne State University Law School, 1979
  • B.A., with high distinction, University of Michigan, 1976


This page is for general information purposes.  JAMS makes no representations or warranties regarding its accuracy or completeness.  Interested persons should conduct their own research regarding information on this website before deciding to use JAMS, including investigation and research of JAMS neutrals. See More

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