MONTEREY, Calif. — A Monterey County Superior Court judge granted Salyer American Fresh Foods two weeks to resolve its problems with a court-appointed receiver in charge of the company since May 7.
Judge Robert O’Farrell said he will give the company until June 19 to settle its dispute over the details of a court order granting Steve Franson the authority to secure the company’s assets. Bank of the West and growers who contracted to grow crops for Salyer American claim they are owed $35 million.
“We are going to have to put this over,” O’Farrell said.
Salyer American wants O’Farrell to approve selection of a new receiver because the company contends Franson overstepped his authority by dismissing more than a 1,000 Salyer American employees without proper notice in May.
Two employees filed for a class action lawsuit against Salyer American on June 1 for improper dismissal.
Franson’s attorney, Reid Everett, defended Franson’s actions saying he’s operated within the purview of the court order and faced a difficult task of stabilizing a company that was “functionally bankrupt” before Franson’s receivership began.
The judge said he needs more time to consider both parties’ arguments and wants Franson’s attorney, Bank of the West and Salyer American to see if they can work out a compromise. O’Farrell admitted that may be not possible given the range of complaints Salyer American holds against Franson.