Produce companies that are owed money by Delta Produce LP or Superior Tomato-Avocado Ltd. have until March 2 to file Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act claims.
The U.S. Bankruptcy Court in the Western District of Texas, San Antonio Division, set the deadlines in an unusual order requested by lawyers representing both sides of the issue, said Craig Stokes, of Miami-based Stokes Law Office LLP, appointed as special PACA counsel. The law firm has a San Antonio office.
The judge also ordered a website — www.omnimgt.com/DeltaProduce-SuperiorTomatoAvocado — be maintained so interested parties can review pleadings and orders entered in the case. Claim forms are available on the website.
“The goal is to make this as transparent as possible for all parties,” Stokes said. “This is very unusual and would not have been possible without the cooperation and agreement of (opposing) counsel.”
Stokes said companies listed as creditors in the consolidated Delta/Superior bankruptcy case must file PACA claims in addition to any claims they may have filed related to the bankruptcies.
He said he expects the PACA claims will total $3.5 million to $4 million.
“The claims are starting to trickle in,” he said Feb. 14. “We just got the first one last week.”
The judge set a schedule to follow the March 2 PACA claim deadline that includes opportunities for objections and responses. He set July 9 as the deadline for notices of resolutions and motions to determine validity of claims.
After objections are resolved, Stokes will create an amended PACA Trust Chart and meet with creditors to discuss an interim distribution and what amount should be held back for future claims.
“I think there is a very strong possibility that we will be able to make whole the Delta (PACA) creditors,” Stokes said. “There is also a good chance we will be able to make whole all of Superior’s (PACA) creditors, too.”