Produce suppliers who believe they are owed money by Adams Produce Co. LLC have until Aug. 3 to file proofs of claim regarding accounts covered by the Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act.

Judge Tamara Mitchell is presiding over the Birmingham, Ala., produce company’s bankruptcy case. The case includes as much as $50 million in total debt and more than $16 million in secured and unsecured PACA claims.

Mitchell also set the schedule for payments to PACA creditors. The first distribution of payments on undisputed PACA claims is due Oct 19.

Both deadlines are part of a PACA procedure plan that attorneys for Adams, its bank and several produce creditors developed.

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.

“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.”

Klinowski represents Grover Bailey Tomato House Inc., Pensacola, Fla., seeking more than $176,000; and Lee’s Produce, Thomasville, Ga., seeking more than $67,000. Klinowski has been working closely with attorney Steve Leara, Wallace, Jordan, Ratliff & Brandt LLC in Birmingham, who represents Alex Kontos Fruit Co. Inc., Birmingham, seeking almost $1 million.

Leara and Klinowski’s clients have been at odds with a group of PACA creditors represented by Meuers, on how to proceed with the case. Those other PACA creditors include Pro*Act LLC, Monterey, Calif., which has the largest PACA claim listed so far, at almost $5 million.

Other key dates in the PACA procedure, as ordered by Mitchell, include:

  • Aug. 3: Deadline for Adams to file PACA trust asset report;
  • Aug. 24: Deadline for objections to PACA claims/Adams’ PACA trust asset report;
  • Nov. 30 and continuing for six months: Adams must make distributions to PACA creditors on the last day of each month; and
  • Dec. 7: Deadline for motions related to disputed PACA claims.