Appeals Court Orders Hunts to Move Bankruptcy to Dallas

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Thursday that the billionaire Hunt brothers of Texas transfer their bankruptcy proceedings from New Orleans to Dallas.

""This court orders immediate transfer of the chapter 11 proceedings to the bankruptcy court for the northern District of Texas with instructions to proceed in excactly the same manner as if the chapter 11 proceedings had been initially filed in that jurisdiction ...,'' the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled after a hearing.

A lawyer for the Hunts had argued that they should be allowed to hash out their financial problems in Louisiana because that is home for their Placid Oil.

""Placid is here because its assets are here in Louisiana,'' Stephen Gordon told the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Gordon also told the panel that U.S. District Judge Barefoot Sanders of Texas was wrong when he told the Hunts to keep the case in Dallas courts.

Sanders' order put a Thursday deadline on the Hunts to get the case out of New Orleans and at the hearing, the three-judge appeals panel said it would rule before the day is out.

The original deadline was noon, but the hearing was still underway at that hour and the judges said Sanders agreed to hold off until the appeals court ruled.

Among the banks' arguments at the hearing was the allegation that the Hunts are merely trying to complicate and delay various legal battles.

""The game isn't to win. The game is to spread things out,'' said lawyer Melvyn Cantor.

Companies owned by William Herbert Hunt, Nelson Bunker Hunt and Lamar Hunt have filed in New Orleans for protection under federal bankruptcy laws against 23 banks that are trying to foreclose on $1.5 billion in past-due loans.

On Wednesday, the Hunts filed a motion in Dallas trying to get Sanders from hearing any more of the case. The motion argued for reconsideration of the earlier motion charging Sanders with a conflict of interest and seeking his removal from the case. …