Kathryn M.S. Catherwood


  • Office Contact Info
  • Biography

    Kathryn M.S. Catherwood (“Kay”) is a partner in the San Diego office of GRSM and a member of the firm’s Business Transactions, Bankruptcy, Restructuring and Creditors' Rights, Commercial Litigation, Drug & Medical Device, and Real Estate practice groups. She focuses in the areas of commercial litigation, creditor’s rights, and insolvency and bankruptcy law.

    Kay has extensive experience in all aspects of business and bankruptcy law and litigation, including business reorganization, liquidation and workouts.  Kay’s clients include creditors and court-appointed trustees in chapter 7 and 11 cases, as well as representation of debtors in chapter 11 cases. She has knowledge in mechanic's lien law, as well as family law and related dissolution matters. Her creditor's right practice emphasizes representing lenders and borrowers in workout and restructuring of commercial loans, secured transactions, and lease transactions, and pursuit of creditor's remedies in commercial litigation matters. 

    Kay’s practice also includes directors’ and officers’ liability litigation as well as products liability litigation. Additionally, she has experience handling real estate litigation matters.


    • California
    • Wisconsin
    • U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit
    • U.S. District Courts and Bankruptcy Courts, Northern, Southern, Eastern and Central Districts of California


    • State Bar of California
    • State Bar of Wisconsin
    • San Diego Bankruptcy Forum – Past President
    • California Bankruptcy Forum – Past President
    • Local Bankruptcy Rules Advisory Board
  • Practice Areas
  • Representative Experience
    • Represented secured creditor in chapter 11 bankruptcy in connection with the buyout of the senior housing facility by national hospitality corporation as well as defending it in an adversary proceeding challenging the validity, priority and extent of its liens on the project
    • Represented borrower in workout of $270 million secured loan on luxury hotel property in Mexico, including negotiation and drafting of loan purchase agreement
    • Represented public entity in connection with creditor remedies in bankruptcy proceedings across the country, including relief from stay proceedings, preference defense, and assumption/rejection of unexpired non-residential leases
    • Advised clients on bankruptcy/divorce issues, including community property issues
    • Represented creditor in pursing fraud claims against deceased former counsel, including participation in probate proceedings
    • Confirmed Chapter 11 reorganization plan for a Southern California theater chain
    • Obtained $1.6 million settlement against a Chapter 11 debtor for a state retirement system
    • Successfully resolved a breach of contract action, in AAA arbitration against a large software company for failure to provide operable software to a manufacturer of luxury motor coaches
    • Successfully defended a reorganized Chapter 11 debtor through trial against claim of former accounting firm for professional fees after accounting firm withdrew and failed to provide audited financial statements to enable debtor to comply with SEC reporting requirements
    • Successfully defeated 9th Circuit BAP appeal of claim of a former investor against a reorganized Chapter 11 debtor
    • Successfully obtained summary judgment for a client in a license dispute
    • Successfully obtained judgment for a lender client against guarantors after non-judicial foreclosure, defeating defense of “sham guaranty” on summary judgment
    • Successfully represented hospital in connection with employee benefits claim
    • Successfully obtained over $542,000 reduction in fee request through objection to Plaintiffs Bill of Costs related to Anti-SLAPP motion in Makaeff, et al v. Trump University, LLC, et al
    • Successfully represented insurance company in declaratory relief action over policy interpretation, including through appeals
  • Publications & Presentations

    Ms. Catherwood has lectured on the topics of creditor representation in Chapter 11 cases, collection actions in California and enforcement of mechanics’ liens in California. She participated in authoring “Personal and Small Business Bankruptcy Practice in California,” published by the Continuing Education of the Bar: California (2003 – 2006). Her speaking engagements include:

    • Speaker, Effective Oral Argument: A Live Demonstration with Judge Margaret M. Mann, San Diego Bankruptcy Forum, April 25, 2018
    • Speaker, Insolvency Issues for Corporate Counsel, Association of Corporate Counsel San Diego Chapter, December 4, 2014
  • Education


    J.D., cum laude, University of Wisconsin Law School, 1990

    B.S.N., University of Wisconsin, 1982

    B.S., Zoology, University of Wisconsin, 1979


    Best Lawyers in America® "Lawyer of the Year" in Litigation - Bankruptcy, San Diego (2022, 2024)

    Best Lawyers in America® distinction in Bankruptcy and Creditor Debtor Rights/Insolvency and Reorganization Law (2018-2024), Litigation - Bankruptcy (2019-2024)

    AV® Preeminent™, Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review Rating

    San Diego Magazine Top Lawyer (2015, 2016, 2017)

    San Diego Super Lawyers® (2007, 2011-2016, 2018-2022)

    Received the first San Diego Law Library Award of Merit (March 2013) for dedicated service and outstanding contributions in raising funds and public awareness on behalf of the law library.