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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Winn-Dixie Stores, Inc. announced that the U.S. Bankruptcy Court has agreed to transfer the company's Chapter 11 case from the Southern District of New York to the Jacksonville Division of the Middle District of Florida.
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 said in a statement it doesn't expect that this transition will significantly delay or otherwise materially affect its reorganization proceedings.
The court's ruling followed a hearing 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 this 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. . .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 said that a judge and case number have not yet been assigned to the case in Jacksonville.