E-cycling firm files for bankruptcy amid lawsuit

E-cycling firm files for bankruptcy amid lawsuit

By Editorial Staff, Resource Recycling

EcoTech Recycling, a company based in Kalama, Washington that specializes in recycling of semiconductor scrap and precious and non-precious metals, has filed for bankruptcy, stalling an ongoing court case against it.

The company, which was established in 2008, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protections on Sept. 10, 2012 in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in the Western District of Washington. Chapter 11 bankruptcy shields a company from the threat of creditors' lawsuits while it reorganizes its finances while retaining control of its assets.

According to the filing, the EcoTech estimates the number of creditors to be between one and 49. The filing also reveals that the company estimates that funds will be available for distribution to unsecured creditors. EcoTech has assets estimated to be between $100,000 and $500,000 and liabilities estimated to be between $1 million and $10 million, reads the filing.

A notice filed Sept. 12, 2012, states that EcoTech failed to file a statement of its financial affairs, a summary of certain liabilities and to list its 20 largest unsecured creditors.

The company's bankruptcy filings also give it some breathing room with a lawsuit it currently faces.

A complaint filed on Aug. 26, 2009 in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington at Tacoma names EcoTech, as well the company's president Renie Duvall and her husband Phillip M. Mixer, Jr., in a lawsuit filed by LDK Solar Co., a Chinese company that designs, manufactures and distributes solar wafers, which are the principal component used to make solar cells that convert sunlight into electricity. The complaint also names three businesses that appear to be affiliated with EcoTech, RMD Holdings LLC; Silicon & Solar Mfg. LLC; and Silicon & Solar LLC.

According to the complaint, LDK paid nearly $6 million in advance for silicon that was never delivered. In 2007 and 2008, Silicon & Solar Mfg. LLC received funds from Silicon & Solar, LLC when the latter was insolvent and owed LDK millions of dollars, according to the complaint. RMD Holdings, LLC and EcoTech Recycling also received funds from Silicon & Solar LLC, according to the complaint. Additionally, Mixer received a transfer of money, according to the complaint.

These transfers were made with the intent to defraud LDK, the complaint alleges, and on Jan. 15, 2009, Silicon & Solar, LLC informed LDK that it had ceased operations and closed its doors. The complaint further alleges that Silicon & Solar LLC refused to deliver the silicon or return the money paid for the material. LDK has already received a judgment against Silicon & Solar LLC for over $4 million in 2009. According to court documents, the defendants claim that sub-suppliers did not deliver the promised material.

On Aug. 30, 2012, a judge ordered that the case be put on hold until the defendant's bankruptcy proceedings have been concluded. The order also mentions that Duvall and Mixer have filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protections.

A phone call to Duvall seeking comment was not returned by press time. Phone calls to lawyers representing the defendants and plaintiffs in the suit were not returned either.

A document filed with the Securities Exchange Commission in December of 2009 by LDK states that securing feedstock is a risk the company faced.

"If our suppliers fail or become unwilling to deliver our orders on time or at all and do not return our prepayments, our results of operations may be adversely affected," reads the document.

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