Section 8-15-14

Revocation of permit; liquidation of operation.

(a) In the event that the Commissioner of Agriculture and Industries upon a public hearing finds and determines that a public warehouse is being operated in violation of law and regulations and in jeopardy of the public interest, he shall thereupon revoke the permit to operate such public warehouse and, in his discretion, he may take charge of the operation of such warehouse for the purpose of liquidating the same under the direction of the circuit court having jurisdiction at the place of the operation thereof and to operate same under the direction of the court for such time as may be necessary to protect the public interest or to compel compliance with the laws and regulations relating to the operation of public warehouses.

(b) Upon taking charge thereof, the Commissioner of Agriculture and Industries shall appoint in writing, under his hand and official seal, an agent to assist him in the duty of liquidation and distribution of the assets of any public warehouse so taken possession of by him under the provisions of this chapter and the commissioner may authorize such agent to perform such duties connected with such liquidation and distribution as the commissioner himself could in person do and perform.

(c) The Commissioner of Agriculture and Industries forthwith shall cause to be addressed to the circuit court of the county in which such warehouse is located a petition for receivership and liquidation thereof, setting forth the full facts upon which his action in taking charge of the warehouse is based and requesting that the court take jurisdiction and order the liquidation of such public warehouse and the collection of its assets and the distribution thereof and of the property therein stored to its creditors and to claimants of such property so stored therein in such manner as will best serve the public interest.

(d) The court shall fix a date for hearing thereof not less than 10 days from the date of presentation and shall order that in the interim between the filing of the petition and the final determination of the matter of liquidation thereof, that the warehouse shall be under the direction of the Commissioner of Agriculture and Industries or the agents appointed by him to assist therein. If upon final hearing thereof the court determines that the warehouse is not being operated in such manner as is violative of laws and regulations pertaining thereto or in a manner which jeopardizes the public interest, an order shall thereupon be made and entered dismissing the petition and directing the return of the control and operation of the warehouse to the owners and operators thereof. In the event, however, that the court determines that the warehouse is being operated in violation of law and regulations pertaining thereto or in jeopardy of the public interest, an order shall be made and entered appointing the commissioner as liquidating agent thereof and directing the operation of the warehouse by the commissioner and his designated agents under the direction of the court so long as may be necessary for the purpose of the collection of the assets of the warehouse and the distribution thereof to the creditors thereof and for the protection and distribution of the property therein stored to the owners thereof.

(e) The court may provide for the compensation of the liquidating agent and of the employees necessary in the operation thereof, for the employment of counsel and the payment of other expenses necessary to the operation of the warehouse during the period of receivership and cause the same to be paid from the assets of the public warehouse as a prior charge thereon.

(f) The court shall also cause notice to be given by publication of the receivership of the public warehouse and that claims of creditors and bailors of property therein stored shall be presented to the designated liquidating agent within such time as the court may fix not less than six nor more than 12 months after the date of the completion of the publication. If the Commissioner of Agriculture and Industries doubts the justice and validity of any claims of creditors or of bailors, he may reject the same and serve notice of such rejection upon the creditor or bailor, either by mail or personally, and an affidavit of service of such notice which shall be prima facie evidence thereof shall be filed in the office of the liquidating agent and a copy thereof shall be filed in the office of the commissioner. An action upon a claim so rejected must be brought by complaint to the court having jurisdiction of the affairs of the public warehouse by the creditor or bailor within six months after such service or the same shall be barred. Claims presented and allowed after the expiration of the time fixed in the notice to creditors and bailors shall be entitled to share in the distribution only to the extent of the assets in the hands of the commissioner at the time such claims are filed without allowance for prior distributions.

(g) The Commissioner of Agriculture and Industries shall have authority for, and in the name of, the public warehouse in liquidation to collect the assets of such public warehouse and to initiate and prosecute litigation for the collection thereof.

(h) At any time after the expiration of the date fixed for the presentation of claims, the Commissioner of Agriculture and Industries may petition the court for direction as to distribution of assets then in his hands, and he shall make distribution as directed by the court. After one year from the expiration of the date fixed for the presentation of claims, the court shall order final distribution to creditors and bailors unless the time thereof shall have been extended by the court by order duly made and entered. Whenever the commissioner shall have paid all of the creditors and shall have satisfied the claims and demands of all the bailors of the public warehouse whose claims shall have been duly proven and allowed and shall have paid all of the expenses of the liquidation, he shall deliver upon order of the court duly made and entered the remaining assets in his custody to the public warehouse or the owners and operators thereof. The property of bailors remaining in the hands of the commissioner, or the liquidating agent, for a period of six months after the date fixed by the court for final distribution of assets shall be sold and converted into money, with a complete record of the proceeds of the property belonging to each separate bailor who has not claimed the same. The proceeds of such sales shall be covered by him into the treasury to the credit of the commissioner in trust for the several bailors of the liquidated public warehouse, and the commissioner may pay over the money so held by him in trust to the bailors entitled thereto upon being satisfied of their right to the same. In case of doubtful or conflicting claims to said proceeds, he may require an order from the court having jurisdiction of the liquidation of the warehouse authorizing and directing the payment thereof. All such funds remaining in his hands for a period of 10 years after the date upon which he covered the same into the treasury shall become the property of the state and shall be covered into the state Agricultural Fund.

(i) Upon the finding of the Commissioner of Agriculture and Industries that it is necessary to take charge of a public warehouse for liquidation thereof, he shall forthwith make full report thereof to the State Board of Agriculture and Industries which shall spread his findings upon the minutes of the said State Board of Agriculture and Industries; and at the conclusion of the liquidation of any warehouse of which the commissioner has taken charge as herein provided, he shall forthwith make full report thereof to the State Board of Agriculture and Industries, which shall spread the same upon its minutes.

(Ag. Code 1927, §401; Acts 1939, No. 443, p. 586; Code 1940, T. 2, §581.)