Richard Keeton offers and implements practical solutions tailored to his clients’ specific needs and desired outcomes, whether through formal bankruptcy proceedings, out-of-court workouts, state court receiverships, or related litigation.
Richard Keeton, a Washington native, joined the firm in 2019. Richard represents corporate debtors, trustees, and other stakeholders in chapter 11 reorganizations and chapter 7 liquidations across a variety of industries, including healthcare, agriculture, tobacco, and hospitality. As an appellate advocate, he has briefed and argued appeals before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and the Bankruptcy Appellate Panel. Richard is also a significant contributor to the firm’s receivership practice.
Richard is recognized locally and nationally as an up-and-coming bankruptcy and restructuring practitioner. Notably, he was invited to participate in the 2022 Class of the NextGen Program, sponsored by the National Conference of Bankruptcy Judges and the American College of Bankruptcy. He has also been included in the 2022 and 2023 editions of Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch in America™ for his work in Bankruptcy and Creditor/Debtor Rights, Insolvency and Reorganization Law, and has been nominated by his peers as a “Rising Star” in the areas of Bankruptcy and Creditor Debtor Rights in Thompson Reuters Super Lawyers® magazine every year since 2020. Richard currently sits on the Executive Board for the King County Bar Association Bankruptcy Law Section and has served on the WSBA Board of Bar Examiners since 2017.
Following law school, Richard clerked for the Honorable Christopher M. Alston of the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of Washington, after having previously served as an extern to Bankruptcy Judge Brian D. Lynch. Among Richard’s numerous accolades while in law school, he was published in the American Bankruptcy Law Journal, a peer reviewed journal published by the National Conference of Bankruptcy Judges, and served as the editor-in-chief of the school’s Business & Bankruptcy Law Journal.
Additional Attorney Information
Representation of a Native owned tobacco products manufacturer within the boundaries of the Yakama Nation Reservation in chapter 11 proceedings to restructure its secured debt of over $77 million to the U.S. Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau as well as over $15 million in operating liabilities to the FDA, USDA, the states of Indiana and South Carolina, and the company’s critical vendors. After a protracted discovery and plan negotiation process that dealt with numerous avoidance theories advanced by the government creditors, and related litigation, the company successfully negotiated a consensual chapter 11 plan of reorganization that pays its secured and unsecured creditors in full from net income of the reorganized debtor and periodic releases from state qualified escrow funds.
Served as co-counsel with a national corporate restructuring firm in representation of an independent board of directors of large-scale cattle ranching and farming operations in chapter 11 proceedings precipitated by a massive fraud scheme that resulted in over $240 million in damages claims against Easterday Ranches. By way of a cooperation agreement with various non-debtor parties, the debtors facilitated an orderly liquidation of substantially all of their assets through various sale processes, including many acres of farmland, substantial farm equipment, various crops, and vehicles and aircraft, yielding hundreds of millions of dollars in net sale proceeds. After protracted and difficult negotiations with their key constituencies and significant stakeholders, the debtors confirmed a joint chapter 11 plan of liquidation, which resolved myriad legal issues, including allocation of sale proceeds and corporate governance issues, and provided timely and meaningful recoveries to creditors.
Representation of the owner-operator of two budget hotels located in Tumwater, Washington in chapter 11 subchapter V (small business debtor) proceedings to restructure over $7 million in secured obligations to its senior lender and the SBA, along with operating liabilities. After navigating the company through substantial litigation, including motions to remove the debtor in possession and for relief from stay, the company successfully emerged from chapter 11 with new operational management and a confirmed plan of reorganization that paid general unsecured creditors in full, with meaningful effective date payments and other relief to its secured lenders.
Representation of Alaskan provider of group home services, in-home care, and supported living and employment services with about 250 employees in chapter 11 proceedings to restructure over $9 million in obligations to its secured lenders, various merchant credit companies, and unsecured creditors. The company successfully negotiated a chapter 11 plan of reorganization that resolved years-long litigation and numerous claims between the debtor and State of Alaska, cures and maintains its secured loan obligations and pays its unsecured creditors in full, while retaining the prepetition equity structure of the company.
Represented chapter 7 trustee in complex appeal involving an issue of first impression arising from the bankruptcy court’s order denying the trustee’s objection to the debtor’s claimed Washington homestead exemption. Richard briefed and argued appeals to the Bankruptcy Appellate Panel and Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, resulting in published opinions from each court.
Richard Keeton regularly represents chapter 7 trustees in complex business and consumer liquidation cases involving litigation against third parties to pursue assets subject to clawback under fraudulent transfer and preference statutes, asset sales, and other contested matters.
Education & Bar Memberships
- Bachelor of Arts, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, 2011
- Juris Doctor, Texas Tech University, 2015
- National Order of Scribes
- Editor-in-Chief, Business & Bankruptcy Law Journal
- Master of Laws (LL.M.), University of Washington, 2016
- Washington State Bar
- Idaho State Bar
- Admitted to practice in the:
- Eastern District of Washington;
- Western District of Washington;
- District of Idaho; and
- Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals
Presentations & Publications
- The New Chapter 11 for Small Businesses: A Deep Dive into the New Subchapter V, Washington State Bar Association, February 2020
- Case Law Update & Local Practice Tips: Term Law Clerk Discussion of Recent Ninth Circuit Cases and a Cheat Sheet for Your Local Procedural Questions, King County Bar Association, January 2018
- Executive Board Member, KCBA Bankruptcy Law Section
- Board Member, WSBA Board of Bar Examiners
- Volunteer Judge, University of Washington School of Law moot court competitions
- American Bar Association, Business Law Section
- Washington State Bar Association, Creditor Debtor Rights Section
- King County Bar Association, Bankruptcy Law Section
- Turnaround Management Association
- Federal Bar Association