Written by Craig D. Robins, Esq.
It was two years ago that Melanie L. Cyganowski retired from the bench as Chief Judge of the Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of New York to pursue a career change into the private sector. (see: Chief Bankruptcy Judge Melanie Cyganowski Stepping Down ). This year she has been quite busy.
The big automakers bankruptcies have kept most of the City’s top bankruptcy attorneys busy, and this was no exception for Judge Cyganowski.
Currently a partner with the New York firm, Otterbourg, Steindler, Houston & Rosen, Judge Cyganowski was tapped to advise GMAC Financial Services, which is the financing arm of General Motors, with matters involving the General Motors bankruptcy.
While Chief Judge, she spent a great deal of time trying to make the Long Island and Brooklyn bankruptcy courts more efficient. She has continued with such laudable efforts by recently co-chairing the New York State Bar Association Task Force on the State of Our Courthouses. The task force just issued a report aimed at improving the conditions and modernizing the state’s judicial facilities. The 55-page report can be viewed here: Task Force Report .
Earlier this year, Judge Cyganowski appeared as a commentator on Fox Business News to discuss Ponzi scammer Bernie Madoff’s possessions and bank accounts, and what steps might be taken to go after any fraudulently transferred assets. You can see the video here: Judge Cyganowski Video on Fox . In the interview, she commented on issues that previously came before her on a regular basis as a bankruptcy judge in Central Islip, such as fraudulent transfers, gifts given without sufficient consideration, and sufficiency of good faith defenses.
Judge Cyganowski has also been teaching some classes at St. John’s University School of Law, in their L.L.M in Bankruptcy Master of Laws program. She teaches the class, “Bankruptcy Ethics, Fraud and Malpractice” with Southern District of New York Bankruptcy Judge Cecelia Morris.
To round out her dedication to the bar, Judge Cyganowski has also chaired the New York State Bar Association’s Nominating Committee.
In addition, Judge Cyganowski just moderated a dinner program last week at the Jericho Milleridge Inn, sponsored by the Turnaround Management Association and New York Institute of Credit, entitled “Chapter 7 and 11 – Can They be Lucky Numbers?” Unfortunately, because of some other commitments, I couldn’t attend that program.