It will come as no surprise that Peanut Corporation of America has filed for bankruptcy protection in the Western District of Virginia. 

According to the bankruptcy filing, PCA claims to have debts of only between $1 and $10 million, and between 100 and 199 creditors.  My colleagues in our Business Finance and Insolvency group tell me there is little penalty for any inaccuracies in these particular boxes on the cover sheet to a bankruptcy filing.

Two points are critical:  they filed for Chapter 7 liquidation, not Chapter 11 reorganization.  While voluntary Chapter 7 filings are not typical, they are less unusual than you might think. 

The other point comes from a box checked on the cover sheet.  It reads, "Debtor estimates that, after any exempt property is excluded and administrative expenses paid, there will be no funds available for distribution to unsecured creditors." 

Tort clamants, i.e., the victims and families of victims, are unsecured creditors within the meaning of the Bankruptcy Code.  In essence, PCA’s assets, such as they are, are being turned over to its banks, and except to the extent of any insurance that may be available, the victims will have no recovery from PCA.