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  • Biography

    Lydia Hilton knows bankruptcy – and drones. Having spent more than 25 years concentrating on real estate litigation and bankruptcy matters, today Lydia also applies that versatility to the highly entrepreneurial business opportunities within unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), a/k/a “drones.” Lydia offers straight advice for available solutions, no matter if a client is facing bankruptcy or dealing with the latest drone regulations.

    Lydia’s broad range of clients includes creditors, service providers, food co-ops, vendors, franchisors and franchisees and other business clients that seek insolvency, restructuring and bankruptcy solutions. Through sage negotiation, and litigation, when necessary, Lydia brings her clients to a quick, practical and wise business resolution.

    An advisor on day-to-day operational and compliance matters, Lydia also helps address the legal conundrums that drones present. She devises strategies to find balance between risks and reward in this emerging industry.

    A member of the State Bar of Georgia’s Bankruptcy and Construction Law Sections, Lydia is also a member of the Aviation Section and a recognized thought leader in this emerging area.

    Ms. Hilton received her law degree from Emory University School of Law and her undergraduate degree from Wake Forest University. She enjoys spending time outdoors and has been an avid supporter of the Georgia Boy Choir since its founding in 2009. Lydia and her husband live in Buckhead.

  • Credentials

    Bar Admissions
    • Georgia (1988)
    • Federal
      • United States Supreme Court
      • Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals
      • Northern and Middle Districts of Georgia
    Education
    • B.A., Wake Forest University, Cum Laude
    • J.D., Emory University School of Law
    Professional Memberships
    • American Bar Association
      • Air and Space Law Forum Subcommittee, “Drones: Regulations, Operations and Litigation”
    • State Bar of Georgia
      • Aviation Section
      • Bankruptcy Section
      • Construction Law Section
  • News & Insights

    Blog Posts

    Presentations

    • Presented, “Drones: What Local Governments and Municipalities Need to Know Now” at a National Business Institute seminar. (November 5, 2019)
    • Featured speaker, InterDrone panel, “Drones, Privacy, Uniform Laws Draft.” At the conference, Lydia also presented on drone business issues and case studies. (September 2, 2019)
    • Podcast speaker, North Fulton Business RadioX, to discuss drone law. (July 2019)
    • Featured guest speaker, Rossdale Group webinar, “Mastering Drones & Unmanned Aircraft Systems Regulation.” (April 24, 2019)
    • Panel participant, 336, Remote ID, UAS IPP, LAANC, waivers, BVLOS and the proposed ULC Drone Tort Law, on an FAA Regulations panel at Interdrone. (September 5, 2018)
    • Speaker, “Communicating the Purpose of UAV’s to Stakeholders to Eliminate Skepticism.” Unmanned Systems for Utilities, Marcus Evans Conferences North America – Atlanta, Georgia. (April 27, 2017)
    • Speaker, “You are Here: Past, Present and Future of sUAS.” Unmanned Systems for Utilities, Marcus Evans Conferences North America – Atlanta, Georgia. (April 27, 2017)
    • Speaker, “Risk Management Issues for Manufacturers and Operators.” Drone Law, The Seminar Group – Atlanta, Georgia. (Nov. 2, 2016)
    • Speaker, “Legal Issues for Drones.” Drones and Film hosted by Georgia Center of Innovation for Aerospace and Georgia Film, Music & Digital Entertainment Office – Atlanta, Georgia. (August 31, 2016)
    • Speaker, “UAS Here and Now:  What Role Does the Airport Play.” (October 26-27, 2016). Georgia Airports Association Annual Meeting, Jekyll Island, Georgia.
    • Co-Speaker, “Public Service Announcement, Unmanned Aircraft Systems.” Produced by the State Bar of Georgia, Aviation Section. (June 2016)
    • Speaker, Curing “Title Defects During Foreclosure.” Title Workshop, National Business Institute – Atlanta, Georgia. (June 6, 2016)
    • Speaker, “Initiating A Quiet Title Action.” Quiet Title Actions in Georgia– National Business Institute – Atlanta, Georgia. (June 2, 2015)
    • Speaker, “Selected Bankruptcy Issues.” Real Estate Law: Advanced Issues and Answers”- National Business Institute – Atlanta, Georgia. (October 15, 2012)
    • Speaker, “Commercial and Real Estate Loan Documents: More Than Just Papers in Georgia.” Lorman Education Services – Atlanta, Georgia. (April 26, 2006)
    • Speaker, “Cross-Examination of Experts.” Keeping Experts Out, Getting Experts In: From the Defendant’s Perspective, continuing legal education seminar sponsored by ICLE and State Bar of Georgia’s Products Liability Section – Atlanta Georgia. (November 9, 2001)
  • Representative Matters

    • Represented private property owner in nuisance litigation against recreational drone and model aircraft club.
    • Assisted oil and gas engineering firm with UAS Operations manual and formation of UAS group.
    • A banking client held what appeared to be an uncollectible $2 MM judgment against a high-net worth Chapter 7 debtor. Through meticulous but precisely targeted investigation and document review uncovered substantial undisclosed cash and real estate, leading to significant recovery where none was thought possible.
    • Represented private investor with multi-million dollar claim in objection to discharge litigation, uncovering decades long fraudulent-transfer scheme and misconduct in prior bankruptcy case, all of which exposed significant unreported assets controlled in spouse’s name and allowing bankruptcy trustee to seek recovery of millions of dollars.
    • National fast-food franchisor was sued by failed franchisee who claimed “lack of training.” By putting together detailed timeline through interviews with former employees positioned client for settlement at a fraction of the multi-million dollar demand.
    • Banking client was sued for lender liability in response to foreclosure and debtor later sought to subordinate claim in bankruptcy. By keeping pressure in Chapter 11 debtor to substantiate claims and comply with procedural rules, was able to force settlement involving no payments.
    • Environmental engineering firm was sued two years after termination of failed project by trustee for defaulting borrower which claimed unlawful set off. By establishing defenses and taking steps to block sharp litigation practices, was able to force favorable settlement in relatively short time that allowed client to meet goal of putting matter behind it.
    • Engineering firm held aged invoices from defunct communications firm. By tracking down out of state defendant and uncovering overlooked, but legally significant defects in opposing party’s documents was able to recover partial payment.
    • Distressed Architectural services firm was being charged above-market rents and facing eviction on short notice. Through analysis of financial data and history of company negotiated additional time for vacating former premises and then negotiated new lease in same area with at-market rates.
    • Major building-materials supplier sued for preference. By reconstructing payment records was able to reduce liability.
    • Commercial landlord was plagued by chronically late-paying, non-performing tenant. By correctly predicting tenant’s bankruptcy and then implementing pre-bankruptcy plan to prevent assumption of lease, obtained all pre-and post-petition rent until tenant vacated premises.
    • Represented owners and title companies in real estate matters, including disputes over easements, right-of-ways, and title defects.
  • Publications

    • “The Next Big Privacy Concern is Up in the Air,” The Wall Street Journal, June 20, 2019. Lydia was quoted in this article that discusses how wealthy homeowners grapple to shield themselves from the prying eyes of drones in the sky.
    • Keeping Up With The Drones,” Ultimate Magazine, the official magazine for air shuttle, January/February 2018
    • Co-author: “Public Service Announcement, Unmanned Aircraft Systems.” Produced by the State Bar of Georgia, Aviation Section, June 2016
    • Selected Bankruptcy Issues, Real Estate Law: Advanced Issues and Answers, NBI, Inc., 2012
    • Commercial and Real Estate Loan Documents: More Than Just Papers in Georgia, Session on Ethics and Foreclosure-Assistance Fraud, April 26, 2006 (sponsored by Lorman Education Services)
    • Cross Examination of Experts, Keeping Experts Out, Getting Experts In: From the Defendant’s Perspective at ICLE and State
      Bar of Georgia’s Products Liability Section, Atlanta Georgia
      , November 9, 2001
    • Recent Developments in Georgia Evidence Law, 2001
    • Contributing Author, “Daubert – The law in the Eleventh Circuit,” Product Liability Attorneys Council (PLAC) Deskbook on Scientific Evidence (2000, 2001)
  • Community

    • Atlanta Ronald McDonald House Charities (2017 – 2019)