Midwest Produce Conference + Expo

I wanted to personally thank everyone who came out to Michael Jordan’s Steak House and joined Freeborn & Peters LLP’s Food Industry Team for a cocktail reception following the Midwest Produce Conference + Expo.  For those of you who could not join us, please look for us at the upcoming PMA Fresh Summit Convention this October!

Jason Klinowski Quoted in The Packer’s Updated Article on Adams Produce

The Packer quoted Jason Klinowski in its 7/12/2012 updated article announcing the entry of an Agreed Order Establishing a PACA Claims Procedure in the $50 million dollar Adams Produce bankruptcy case, which involves over $16 million in secured debt.

See: PACA Claims Due in Adams Produce Case

In this article, The Packer noted that: “Attorney Jason Klinowski, from Freeborn & Peters in Chicago, and Larry Meuers of Meuers Law Firm in Naples, Fla., represent produce companies seeking payment from Adams and were key players in the development of the plan. They worked with lawyers representing Adams, PNC Bank and other parties to resolve how the PACA claims should move forward.”  Id.

The article also quoted Jason as saying: “Getting the PACA trust beneficiaries paid quickly was our No. 1 priority,” Klinowski said. “A lot of good attorneys worked through some tough issues … Having been intimately involved in that process, I can tell you that it is not only a solid work product but the best way to get the PACA trust beneficiaries paid quickly.”  Id.

With the PACA Claims Procedure in place, here are some critical dates of interest:



Bankruptcy Proof of Claim Deadline

July 6, 2012

PACA Proof of Claim Deadline:

August 3, 2012

PACA Trust Asset Report Deadline:

August 3, 2012

Deadline to Object to PACA Proofs of Claim:

August 24, 2012

Deadline to Object to PACA Trust Asset Report:

August 24, 2012

Deadline to Schedule Meet and Confer:

August 31, 2012

Deadline to Meet and Confer:

September 14, 2012

Deadline to Notify Debtor of Result of Meet and   Confer Conferences:

September 17, 2012

Deadline to file Meet and Confer Report:

September 21, 2012

Deadline to Respond to Claim Objections:

September 28, 2012

Deadline to File PACA Trust Distribution Report:

October 5, 2012

Deadline to Object to PACA Trust Distribution   Report:

October 12, 2012

Deadline to Make First Interim Distribution:

October 19, 2012

Mediation Date for Disputed Claims and Disputed   Assets:

October __, 2012

Deadline to File Motion to Determine Disputed   Claims and Assets

December 7, 2012

Judge Rejects Deal from Adams Produce, PNC Bank and Pro*Act

On May 21, 2012, Judge Mitchell of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Alabama rejected a proposed settlement in the Adams Produce Bankruptcy, which the Court identified as a case of “national interest.”

On May 22, 2012, The Packer published an article outlining Judge Mitchell’s reasons for rejecting the proposed settlement, which can be found here:

Judge Rejects Deal from Adams Produce, PNC Bank and Pro*Act

Echoing Jason Klinowski and Brian Jackiw of Freeborn & Peters’ objections to the proposed settlement, the Court cited the “lack of financial statements,” the lack of “schedules, statement of affairs and a full creditors’ matrix.”  As key reasons the Court would not approve the proposed settlement.  The Court went further to say that “we know very little about this company” and we are only “three weeks and three days into this case.”  Simply put, settlement was both premature and overreaching given the timing and all of the conditions contained in the proposal.

Judge Mitchell, agreeing with counsel from Freeborn & Peters, also took issue with the liability releases contained in the proposed settlement agreement.  Specifically, the Court noted that the “deal would have benefitted PNC Bank because it would get other creditors off the books, clearing the way for it to receive payment on a $5 million lien it claims to have against Adams Produce.”    Jason Klinowski and Brian Jackiw of Freeborn & Peters were not willing to allow their clients to sign away their future rights and the Court clearly agreed!