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United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of New Mexico
July 31, 2020, Decided; July 31, 2020, Entered
[*353] Before the Court is Coyote Cabling, LLC's motion to allow it to file a late claim. The Court held an evidentiary hearing on the motion on April 8, 2020, and finds that Coyote Cabling did not receive notice of the bankruptcy case until well after the claims bar date. The motion therefore is well taken and will be granted.
The Court finds:1
For many years Raymond Wooten was an owner, officer, and director of Wooten Construction, a successful construction company in Las [**2] Cruces, New Mexico. Raymond Wooten was influential and well respected in the community. In 2005, he sold the company to his son Kenneth Wooten. Thereafter, Raymond Wooten remained involved in the business as an estimator, job bidder, and advisor.
Coyote Cabling installs low voltage cabling for security systems, fire alarms, public address systems, and the like. Bret Off owns 90% of Coyote Cabling. He has been in business for more than 25 years. Mr. Off grew up in a family business, earned an electrical engineering degree, and participates in continuing business education classes. He is a fairly sophisticated businessman. In the past Mr. Off has encountered some debt collection problems, but this is his first experience with a bankruptcy.
Wooten Construction was one of Coyote Cabling's biggest customers. Over the years, Wooten Construction hired Coyote Cabling as a first or second tier subcontractor on construction projects of all sizes, including large projects at schools and courthouses. The job that led to the claim at issue was a remodeling project at New Mexico State University (NMSU) in 2015. [*354] Wooten Construction was the general contractor for the job and hired Coyote Cabling to [**3] "upfit" the university's sports facilities so ESPN could broadcast games from NMSU's football stadium. Wooten Construction owes Coyote Cabling about $82,000 for its work on the NMSU remodeling job. Based on Coyote Cabling's history with Wooten Construction and Raymond Wooten's reputation, Mr. Off trusted that Wooten Construction would pay Coyote Cabling eventually and did not aggressively attempt to collect the debt. Additionally, Raymond and Kenneth Wooten both assured Mr. Off that the debt would be paid.
Coyote Cabling's street address is 742 W Palms,2 Las Cruces, NM 88007. The U.S. Postal Service delivers mail directed to that address to a multi-unit mailbox about a quarter of a mile away. Coyote Cabling's office manager, Nicolette Thornbock, is responsible for retrieving the mail from the box and sorting it. Except for trade magazines, she does not have authority to discard any mail, including junk mail. If there are pieces of mail that do not relate to Ms. Thornbock's office management responsibilities, she sets them aside for Mr. Off's review.
Full case includes Shepard's, Headnotes, Legal Analytics from Lex Machina, and more.
620 B.R. 351 *; 2020 Bankr. LEXIS 2054 **; 69 Bankr. Ct. Dec. 46; 2020 WL 4462919
In re: RAYMOND CALVIN WOOTEN and KATHY RIDDLE WOOTEN, Debtors.
Cabling, mail, notice, street address, excusable neglect, receive notice, credible, mailbox, customers
Evidence, Judicial Notice, Adjudicative Facts, Judicial Records, Inferences & Presumptions, Presumptions, Particular Presumptions, Bankruptcy Law, Claims, Proof of Claim, Effects & Procedures