Almost a year and a half after filing for bankruptcy and closing its doors, Houston’s Finest Produce Co. is the subject of a Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act administrative action.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture filed the action in late April, 15 months after Houston-based Kalil Fresh Marketing Inc. filed for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy protection shortly after a PACA claim was filed against it by Chicago-based Ruby Robinson Co.

In July, U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Wesley Steen recommended the District Court withdraw the bankruptcy reference on the case.

Steven DeFalco, an attorney with the Naples, Fla.-based Meuers Law Firm, called the case “extraordinary.” His firm is representing several claimants.

“This one has been a really good law school exam in terms of trying to figure out what happens when a company goes out of business,” he said. “At this point, it’s a normal claims procedure.”

The PACA action claims more than 55 sellers are owed in excess of $1.6 million for produce received and sold between October 2007 and February 2008.

DeFalco said he does not expect plaintiffs to collect much on the case.

“I think you’re looking at 40 to 60 cents on the dollar, best case scenario,” he said. “It’s less than what we thought it was going to be at first.”

DeFalco said there still is about $200,000 in receivables out there, but he does not expect much to be collected.