Update: Catfish Investors Haven't Made a Decision on an Appeal

by Arkansas Business Staff  on Monday, Dec. 15, 2008 12:00 am  

UPDATE: Farm Fresh Producers LLC, which lost its 2004 lawsuit against Catfish Producers LLC, filed a notice for appeal in 2009. But Farm Fresh Producers later withdrew that notice for appeal.

Original story:

Surely you've heard that the catfish investors who claimed they were misled about the financial status of a catfish processing plant lost their 2004 lawsuit in front of a Pulaski County Circuit Court jury in October.

But will the investors, who were known as Farm Fresh Producers LLC and invested $2.5 million, let Catfish Producers LLC off the hook or appeal?

"I really don't want to make a comment about that right now," said one of the investors' attorneys, David Hargis of Little Rock.

He said the judgment hasn't been entered in the case and no timeline is available for when that might occur.

The investors said it wasn't until they opened a file cabinet that had been sealed with duct tape that they discovered board minutes indicating that the processing plant called Farm Fresh Catfish Co. in Lake Village had been gasping for air for years before it closed in 2004. The investors sued Catfish Producers, alleging fraud and other allegations.

The investors also didn't want to have to pay part of the debts tied to Arkansas Catfish Growers LLC, which operated as Seacat and was forced into involuntary bankruptcy in 2004 with debts of $15.7 million and $3.5 million in assets.

The catfish investors asked the jury to let them sidestep their personal guarantees that they made to the Arkansas Development Finance Authority in connection with Seacat.

But the jury didn't agree and made the investors pay. Here's what the investors owe ADFA: David and Suzanna Powell, $272,000; Jack and Dana Frost, $275,000; and Peyton and Shaffer Upton, $598,000.



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