John Kaplan has wide experience representing Chapter 11 debtors, trustees, and secured and unsecured creditors in bankruptcy, receivership, and real and personal property foreclosure matters. He represents clients in areas related to bankruptcy claims, executory contract issues, and other commercial transactions and litigation matters and, when needed, advocates for them in complex and high-stakes bankruptcy matters.

John was named Best Lawyers® “Lawyer of the Year” in Bankruptcy Litigation in Seattle for 2018. He has been included in The Best Lawyers in America® since 2011 and ranked by Chambers USA since 2010.

Prior to joining Stoel Rives, John was a partner at Perkins Coie LLP. Earlier in his career, John was a law clerk to the Honorable Daniel Moore, Jr., of the Supreme Court of Alaska.


Duke University School of Law, J.D., 1993, with high honors

University of Pennsylvania, Wharton School, B.S., Economics, 1987, cum laude





Bankruptcy Cases – Debtor and Trustee Representation

  • Represented U.S. subsidiary of Italian-based global cosmetics company as Chapter 11 debtor in possession. Obtained confirmation of Chapter 11 plan of reorganization within five months, providing for continued U.S. operations while rejecting non-viable leases.
  • Represented Chapter 11 trustee with respect to a molecular testing laboratory that was accused of overbilling Medicare by $90 million. Achieved settlement with Center for Medicare and Medicaid, sold various estate assets, and prosecuted over 40 adversary proceedings for fraudulent transfers and/or preferences.
  • Represented Chapter 11 debtor in possession with high-stakes product liability claims through confirmation of plan of reorganization.
  • Represented Chapter 11 debtor in possession for multistate publicly traded forest products company in successful liquidation of lumber mill operations through plan confirmation.
  • Represented debtor in possession for Boston Market franchisee in Washington, Oregon, and Idaho during controlled wind down.

Creditor Representations

  • Represented American multinational e-commerce company in obtaining summary judgment with respect to termination of bankruptcy debtor as third-party seller.
  • Represented American multinational corporation and affiliates in a heavily contested motion for appointment of a Chapter 11 trustee based on mismanagement and malfeasance related to CEO and majority owner's stock repurchase prior to insolvency. Motion granted following trial.
  • Represented doctor who invented and licensed product to the debtor and obtained multimillion-dollar settlement for rejection of his license agreement related to medical devices.
  • Represented energy equipment manufacturer in multiparty adversary proceeding regarding stalled cogeneration projects in which general contractor's shareholder was alleged to have misappropriated funds and asserted various counterclaims. Obtained favorable settlement on eve of trial.
  • Represented Pacific Northwest utility in obtaining relief from stay in bankruptcy case of project co-owner to continue federal court litigation regarding future of project.
  • Represented lender in mortgage reformation adversary proceeding, resulting in favorable settlement and high-claim payment.
  • Represented numerous clients in defense of preference adversary proceedings, both locally and nationally.
  • Represented various landlord clients in national retail bankruptcy cases.

Single Asset Bankruptcy Cases

  • Represented secured lenders in various hotel bankruptcy cases.  Obtained favorable claim treatment under consensual plan of reorganization in multiple cases; obtained dismissal of bankruptcy in another case.
  • Represented first position secured lender in single asset real estate case for industrial property. Obtained payment of claim upon sale of property in favorable settlement of litigation claim components.
  • Represented secured lender in single asset real estate case for industrial property. Achieved settlement where client obtained possession of property.
  • Represented secured lender in a single asset real estate case. Achieved dismissal of bankruptcy case, appointment of state court receiver, summary judgment allowing defeasance prepayment premium, and full payment of creditors' claim.

Receiverships and Non-Bankruptcy Litigation

  • Represented secured lenders in more than 75 commercial real estate receiverships throughout Washington.
  • Represented CMBS special servicer in mortgage repurchase litigation in New York State Court against loan originator.
  • Represented general receiver in successful completion of constructions and full sell-out of condominium project.
  • Represented general receiver for home-brewing equipment manufacturer in sale of assets.
  • Served as mediator of numerous cases as member of the Thomas T. Glover Mediation Panel for the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of Washington. Successfully mediated all cases to settlement prior to trial.


Insights & Presentations

  • “Annual Real Property Spring CLE: A Practice Guide to Real Estate Lending in Washington,” Perkins Coie LLP webinar, April 2020
  • Strategic Alternatives for and Against Distressed Businesses (chapter author), Thomsen Reuters, 2019 ed.


  • Named by Best Lawyers® as Litigation-Bankruptcy “Lawyer of the Year,” Seattle, 2018
  • Included in The Best Lawyers in America® (Bankruptcy and Creditor Debtor Rights/Insolvency and Reorganization Law, Litigation-Bankruptcy), 2011–2024
  • Selected as one of “America’s Leading Lawyers for Business” (Washington) by Chambers USA (Bankruptcy/Restructuring), 2010–2023
  • Listed in Washington Super Lawyers® (Bankruptcy, Business Litigation), 2023
  • Listed in Seattle Metropolitan Magazine, "Best Lawyers in Seattle," 2011



  • American Bankruptcy Institute, Member
  • Turnaround Management Association, Member
  • Washington State Bar Association, Creditor/Debtor Section, Executive Committee Member
  • King County Bar Association, Bankruptcy Section, Member
  • CENTS (Consumer Education and Training Services); President, 2010–2012; Fundraising Chair, 2004–2010; Board of Directors, 2000–present
  • Thomas T. Glover Mediation Panel, Mediator
  • Federal Bar Association, Member
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