The Honorable Thomas B. Bennett (Ret.) focuses his practice on insolvency and bankruptcy. Judge Bennett was appointed a U.S. Bankruptcy Judge for the Northern District of Alabama in June 1995 and Chief U.S. Bankruptcy Judge in January 2011. During his tenure, he presided over the Jefferson County, Alabama bankruptcy, the largest municipal bankruptcy ever filed, at the time, and second today only to Detroit’s bankruptcy case. In 2013, Judge Bennett was inducted as a Fellow in the American College of Bankruptcy, for his professional excellence and exceptional contributions to the fields of bankruptcy and insolvency.
Prior to becoming a Bankruptcy Judge, Judge Bennett was a law clerk for the Hon. John R. Brown of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit for one year before joining a large Charleston, WV law firm, where he was head of the firm’s commercial litigation and bankruptcy/creditor’s rights practice group. He has also served in various capacities for the National Conference of Bankruptcy Judges including having served as its president.
Judge Bennett received his law degree from West Virginia University Law School in 1976 and also received his undergraduate and graduate degrees in economics from West Virginia University.
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit
U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas
U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia
West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals
Supreme Court of Texas
Memberships and Affiliations:
West Virginia State Bar
State Bar of Texas
Birmingham Bar Association
American Bankruptcy Institute
Commercial Law League of America
National Conference of Bankruptcy Judges
American Bar Association
- Contributing author for chapters 133 through 136 of Bloomberg Law: Bankruptcy Treatise. This treatise was first published in December, 2014.
- “Consent: Its Scope, Blips, Blemishes, and a Bekins Extrapolation Too Far,” 37 Campbell L. Rev. 1-23 (2015).
- “Removal, Remand, and Abstention Related to Bankruptcies: Yet Another Litigation Quagmire!,” 27 Cumberland L. Rev. 1037-1105 (1997)
- Co-authored with Professor Vincent Cardi “West Virginia Consumer Credit and Protection Act,” 77 W.Va.L.Rev. 401 (1975)
- “Fraudulent Transfers/Conveyances, Preferences, Subordination, and the Impact of Insider Status, “Eastern Mineral Law Special Institute on Bankruptcy in the Mining and Oil and Gas Industries (Nov. 1991)
- Various seminar papers for, among others, the West Virginia State Bar, the West Virginia University Law School, the West Virginia Bankers Association, the Alabama Bar Association, the Cumberland School of Law of Samford University, the University of Alabama School of Law, the Birmingham Bar Association, American Bankruptcy Institute, and private seminar entities on a range of (i) bankruptcy and debtor/creditor rights issues, (ii) commercial law topics, (iii) theories of lender liability, and (iv) litigation issues such as evidence and rules of civil procedure.
Recent Speaking Engagements:
- Panelist on Municipal Bankruptcies, American College of Bankruptcy, March 14, 2014, Washington, D.C.
- Panelist on Municipal Bankruptcies, Turnaround Management Association’s 8th Annual Southwest Regional Conference, Austin, Texas, April 11, 2014.
- Presenter at Widener University School of Law Symposium on “Municipal Financial Distress: the Problem and Solutions,” Harrisburg, Pennsylvania., April 14, 2014.
- Panelist on Municipal Bankruptcies, Judicial Conference of the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, Hershey, Pennsylvania, May 7, 2014.
- Panelist, American College of Bankruptcy Fifth Circuit College, Chapter 9 Municipal Bankruptcies, New Orleans, Louisiana, May 9 -10, 2014.
- Speaker on Municipal Bankruptcies, Alabama State Bar Assn. “Bankruptcy at the Beach,” Destin, Florida, June 5-8, 2014.
- Presenter on Municipal Bankruptcies, Federal Judicial Center Workshop for Bankruptcy Judges, Boston, Massachusetts, August 13-15, 2014.
- Panelist on “Municipal Finance Distress Can Have Dire Consequences on States,” National Conference of State Legislatures, Minneapolis, Minnesota, August 20-21, 2014.
- Panelist on “Municipal Bankruptcy,” Hudson Valley Bankruptcy Bar Association, Hyde Park, New York, September 11-12, 2014.
- Panelist on Treatment of Municipal Bonds in Chapter 9, American College of Bond Counsel Colloquium, Chicago, Illinois, September 16-17, 2014.
- Keynote Speaker and Panelist, Campbell University School of Law’s 2014 Law Review Symposium on “One City at a Time: The Role and Increasing Presence of Chapter Nine Municipal Bankruptcies,” Raleigh, North Carolina, October 17, 2014.
- Panelist on Municipal Bankruptcies, Georgetown University Law Center and American Bankruptcy Institute, Views from the Bench, Washington, D.C., October 24, 2014.
- Panelist, Mid-South Commercial Law Institute, Municipal Bankruptcy Issues, Nashville, Tennessee, December 4-5, 2014.
- Panelist, Mississippi Bankruptcy Conference, Inc., “Through the Looking Glass: Municipal Bankruptcy Compared to Chapter 11,” Jackson, Mississippi, December 11-12, 2014.
- Presenter on Cram Down Interest Rates, American College of Bankruptcy 11th Circuit Program, Washington, D.C., March 13, 2015.
- Keynote Speaker, Boston University School of Law’s “Modern Municipal Restructurings: Puerto Rico and Beyond,” Boston, Massachusetts, March 27, 2015.
- Guest Lecturer, UCLA School of Law class taught by Kenneth Klee, on the Problems with Legal Analysis as Taught in Law Schools, Los Angeles, California, April 2, 2015.
- Panelist, New York Federal Reserve and United States Treasury Program on Municipal Finance Restructuring, New York, New York, April 14, 2015.
- Panelist, National Association of Public Pension Attorneys, “Municipal Bankruptcy: Perspectives From Either Side of the Bench,” Austin, Texas, June 26, 2015.
- Panelist on Small Business Bankruptcies and Speaker on Priority of Attorney Fees in Chapter 13 Plans, National Association of Chapter Thirteen Trustees, Salt Lake City, Utah, July 1-3, 2015.