Court agrees to shift Winn-Dixie bankruptcy case to Florida

by Staff
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JACKSONVILLE, FLA. — Winn-Dixie Stores, Inc. announced Tuesday that the U.S. Bankruptcy Court has agreed to transfer the company's Chapter 11 bankruptcy case to the Jacksonville Division of the Middle District of Florida from the Southern District of New York.

In a ruling issued Tuesday, Judge Robert D. Drain of the Southern District of New York, ordered that the Winn-Dixie proceedings be moved to Jacksonville following an orderly transition. Winn-Dixie does not expect that this transition will significantly delay or otherwise materially affect its reorganization proceedings, company officials said.

The court's ruling followed a hearing Tuesday at which a number of creditors argued in favor of moving the case to Jacksonville, while a number of others — including the official committee of unsecured creditors — argued in favor of having the case remain in New York. Winn-Dixie had requested that the court transfer its case to Jacksonville after determining that the matter was threatening to disrupt the company's Chapter 11 proceedings.

In his ruling, Judge Drain noted that the record of the court hearing demonstrated that Winn-Dixie's initial decision to file its case in New York was made "entirely in good faith" and, contrary to reports suggesting otherwise, was "not an attempt to hide anything" from creditors or other parties nor an attempt to obtain favorable treatment from the court.

Jay Skelton, chairman of the Winn-Dixie board of directors, said, "We are pleased that the court has agreed to transfer Winn-Dixie's Chapter 11 case to our hometown of Jacksonville and, by doing so, has resolved a matter that was becoming an unnecessary distraction for the company and its creditors.

"(The) court ruling confirms our strong belief that we have acted appropriately, legally and in good faith throughout this matter. Now that this issue has been decided, we are confident all parties involved in Winn-Dixie's Chapter 11 proceedings will move forward in a spirit of cooperation and a renewed focus on achieving a successful reorganization."

Winn-Dixie Stores, Inc. and 23 of its U.S. subsidiaries on Feb. 21 filed voluntary petitions for reorganization under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code. All Winn-Dixie stores in the U.S. and the Bahamas are open and conducting business as usual.

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