Judge Richard S. Schmidt (retired) is located in Corpus Christi, Texas.  He serves as a senior advisor for The Claro Group. One of the nation’s most distinguished Bankruptcy Judges, Judge Schmidt served 28 years on the Southern District of Texas bench.  He is best known for his “user friendly” judicial temperament, ability to recognize quickly complex legal issues, legendary mathematical ability, and case management style, which helped navigate some of the largest and most complex bankruptcies in the country.  Following his retirement, Judge Schmidt is not practicing law, but is available for appointments as a fiduciary in Bankruptcy cases including Chapter 11 Trustee, Chapter 11 Plan Trustee, Litigation Trustee, Fee Examiner, Future Claims Representative, Independent Director of a Chapter 11 Debtor or Chief Restructuring Officer.

In addition to his Senior Advisor position with The Claro Group, Judge Schmidt is an adjunct professor at Texas A & M University Corpus Christi in the Business College.  While in the Air Force Reserves, Judge Schmidt graduated from Air War College and received training in Total Quality Management from W. Edwards Deming, becoming a Certified Trainer.

Experience +

Appointed Trustee for Black Elk Liquidation Trust. Following the bankruptcy of Black Elk Offshore Energy Corporation, this trust is responsible for decommissioning over 50 platforms in the Gulf of Mexico. Duties include managing the approximate $500,000 in administrative expenses, complying with all of the reporting and noticing requirements of the federal and state government agencies, supervising the payment of $143 million in funds from bonds for the costs of decommissioning, collecting and converting all remaining assets to cash other than the litigation described below and maintaining all health safety and environmental on the platforms until they are decommissioned. Ultimately when all assets have been monetized and lawsuits collected, the trust will pay out all creditors and interest holders in accordance with the waterfall established in the Black Elk Plan of Reorganization.

Appointed Trustee for Black Elk Litigation Trust. Trust is responsible for prosecuting a $200 million fraud lawsuit against a several Investment Funds and former officers and directors. It is also pursuing a large number of preference claims under the Bankruptcy Code and filing and prosecuting all claims objections from the Black Elk bankruptcy. It was set up with $350,000 for administrative and legal costs. The Trustee is responsible for retaining and supervising all of the attorneys handling these matters, paying valid expenses of the Trust and, upon collection of all judgements in conjunction with the Black Elk Liquidating Trust, paying all creditors and interest holders in accordance with the waterfall established in the Black Elk Plan of Reorganization.

Prior to retirement, served as the Judge in two highly significant environmental bankruptcy cases, Asarco (copper mining and smelting with a history of lead and asbestos)and Scotia Pacific (the largest redwood forest company in California with significant and sensitive environmental issues). These highly contentious cases were resolved with settlement with the State and Federal agencies. As a Judge, was known for an effective case management style that resulted in an enviable record of successful record of successful confirmations.

Appointed a Chapter 11 Trustee in the Western District of Texas. This case involves litigation management and the efficient liquidation of real and personal assets.

Served as Trustee of four Trusts in Laredo involving the sale of three ranches, the development of significant oil and gas interests and a wind farm.

Education +

B.S., Mathematics, New Mexico State University

J.D., The University of Texas

Memberships +

State Bar of Texas

Louisiana Bar Association

American Bar Association

Corpus Christi Bar Association

Shreveport Bar Association – Secretary/Treasurer

Northwest Louisiana Legal Services – Chairman of Board

Chairman, Bankruptcy Section – State Bar of Texas 2014-2015

American Bankruptcy Institute

National Conference of Bankruptcy Judges

Awards +

Selected one of top ten Bankruptcy Judges in America – Turn Around & Workout Magazine

2004 – Judicial Appreciation Award – National Association of Chapter Thirteen Trustees

Outstanding Service Award, Bankruptcy Section, State Bar of Texas 2012

Banco Rotto Award, Bankruptcy Section, State Bar of Texas 2015

Practices +Insights +

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