Christian C. Onsager
Although Christian’s practice is centered in bankruptcy matters, he brings a broad range of expertise on commercial matters to this arena, including finance, banking, UCC, letters of credit, credit card/merchant bank arrangements, equipment leasing, ERISA,, real estate, receiverships, M&A, and general contract law.
After years of large firm practice, Christian served as general counsel at The Broe Companies, Inc., a diverse Denver operating and investment company with holdings primarily in real estate, assisted living, railroads and medical products. He left to found ONSAGER | FLETCHER | JOHNSON in 2004.
Christian has represented all types of constituencies nationally in out-of-court workouts, bankruptcy cases and receiverships, including debtors, equity holders, lenders and other creditors, buyers, creditor committees, subcommittees, and ad hoc committees. His talent is best reflected in cases that require unique solutions, in-depth understanding of business, financial structure and performance, strategic thinking, and objectivity.
Christian is also an experienced litigator in all areas, both in and outside bankruptcy court, and continues to appear in cases nationwide.
Christian has been active in the national bankruptcy community throughout his career and finished his terms as a director of the American Bankruptcy Institute in 2004. He also chaired the Business Reorganization Committee, sat on the Advisory Board for the ABI Southwest Bankruptcy Conference, and sits on the Advisory Board for the ABI Rocky Mountain Bankruptcy Conference. He helped found and continues on the faculty of the ABI’s Litigation Skills Symposium program and is a frequent publisher and speaker on bankruptcy and related topics. Christian has also served as a retained expert in civil cases.
In re Continental Airlines, Inc.: Christian played a key role as one of Continental’s counsel, and was, among other things, the architect of the innovative plan structure in 1991 that was the key to the airline’s reorganization.
Rancher Energy Corp.: Christian was lead counsel in this reorganization of a public oil and gas company that paid all claims in full and kept equity intact.
Chemrite Industries, LLC: This chapter 11 case in Milwaukee for a specialty products bottler resulted in an over-80% return to creditors.
In re Centrix Financial, Inc.: Centrix was an originator and servicer of sub-prime auto paper resold primarily to credit unions. At the time of filing, the credit unions held $1.3 billion in paper. Christian represented a number of the major credit unions and also the ad hoc committee of over 100 credit unions, for which he successfully negotiating resolution of the significant disputes concerning claims against the credit unions of over $150 million.
Jenkens & Gilchrist, LLP: Christian served as insolvency counsel for this major Dallas law firm, where, against the odds, he achieved the firm’s goal of winding down outside of bankruptcy.
In re Rocky Mountain Instruments, Inc.: This complex reorganization involved a specialty optical manufacturer with a myriad of financial and legal issues, including criminal and civil claims for import-export violations relating to its defense contracts, restructuring the IRB financing of its real estate, and the startup of new business lines.
In re Trails Edge Telluride, LLC/Townsedge Telluride, LLC: Christian took over from other debtor’s counsel mid-stream in these jointly-administered real estate cases. The properties were on the road to foreclosure, but he was able to negotiate a comprehensive structured dismissal that permitted the owners a chance to save their larger real estate empire.
In re Western Pacific Airlines, Inc.: Christian was lead debtor counsel in this difficult and intense chapter 11 of a regional carrier. The case averaged three multiple motion hearings a week. Although Christian was able to structure and obtain approval of what at the time was novel “loan to own” debtor-in-possession financing, the lender later discontinued funding and the case converted to chapter 7.
In re Hawaiian Airlines, Inc.: In the first chapter 11 reorganization of this carrier, Christian represented the creditor’s committee, which played a major role in achieving a confirmed plan of reorganization.
Other cases: Outside of bankruptcy, Christian has represented large agricultural operations in and outside of Colorado in renegotiating existing credit facilities in ranges between $50 and $100 million and locating and negotiating new financing of operating credit lines.
Admitted to practice: Colorado; US District Court, District of Colorado; US Bankruptcy Court, District of Colorado; US Supreme Court; 10th Circuit Court of Appeals; 8th Circuit Court of Appeals; 5th Circuit Court of Appeals; 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals; Federal Circuit Court of Appeals; US District Court, Northern District of Texas; US District Court, District of Arizona; and the US Bankruptcy Court, Eastern District of Wisconsin.
Education: Yale University, B.A. 1971; University of Connecticut Law School, J.D. with honors 1975.