Remains of HDL move toward liquidation

True Health has moved into the HDL building, which also secured VCU as a tenant. Photo by Katie Demeria.

True Health has moved into the HDL building, which also secured VCU as a tenant. Photo by Katie Demeria.

The final dismantling of what’s left of Health Diagnostic Laboratory has been set into motion.

The bankrupt downtown blood testing firm filed an initial Chapter 11 liquidation plan this week in federal bankruptcy court, jump-starting a process that will assign it a liquidating trustee who will determine how much HDL might pay its remaining creditors.

What exactly remains of HDL, once one of Richmond’s fastest-growing companies, is unclear. Its business and the bulk of its assets were sold in September, so it will be up to the trustee to delve into the numbers and determine how much the remaining shell of the company still has to its name – and how much it really owes to all its creditors.

The liquidation plan is in its preliminary stage, and all unsecured creditors will have an opportunity to vote on it. Those ballots are due March 22, and if they give the plan the green light, and if the court is on board, HDL could start April with a trustee.

According to documents filed when it entered bankruptcy last June, HDL owed over $85 million in unsecured claims to creditors like Pennsylvania-based law firm Pietragallo Gordon Alfano Bosick & Raspanti, Cleveland HeartLab, and Sweden-based Mercodia Inc. Creditors had a chance to file their own documents, and the total debt figures based on those filings “far exceed” the amounts that HDL reported, according to a disclosure statement also filed Jan. 4.

HDL, court records state, believes it still has “valid objections” to many of those claims.

The company filed its monthly operating report Jan. 5 which showed $34 million in assets. But that number may be even larger, as it still has pending disputed claims, such as deposits and repayments, claims for unpaid lab tests and pending litigation. The company has three unresolved lawsuits that may result in funds from damages or settlements: two against insurance giants Cigna and Aetna and one against its former sales contractor, BlueWave Healthcare Consultants.

One of the company’s largest remaining assets is its ownership stake in Biotech 8 LLC, the entity that owns HDL’s 280,000-square-foot former downtown headquarters. HDL owns almost 59 percent of Biotech 8, and according to city records, the building was most recently assessed at over $63 million.

Additionally, the company’s committee of unsecured creditors is in the midst of examining some of HDL’s former executives to determine if the company could pursue action against them.

The creditors committee has sent letters to those subject to the examination, stating that it is trying to reclaim about $400 million.

The preliminary liquidation plan dictates that secured creditors will be paid back first and in full. Both California-based Bank of the West and Ohio-based PNC Equipment Finance hold secured claims, documents show, of over $2 million and almost $4 million, respectively.

HDL already repaid some of its largest creditors, including BB&T and its bankruptcy lender following the sale of the bulk of the business to Texas-based True Health Diagnostics.

True Health, which now operates out of the former HDL headquarters, is meanwhile dealing with its own legal dustup.

The company is fighting for dismissal of patent infringement claims filed against it in November by Ohio-based Cleveland HeartLab.

Cleveland HeartLab claims True Health has used its patented blood tests aimed at detecting risks for heart disease. The lawsuit claims HDL previously had a contract to run the tests, but True Health chose not to renew the arrangement when it purchased the company.

In its response to the suit, True Health argues that three of the four patents Cleveland is attempting to defend are not patentable tests. They depend on measuring myeloperoxidase, or MPO, in the bloodstream.

“MPO is a naturally-occurring enzyme released by white blood cells when inflammation in the body occurs,” True Health’s motion states; it claims the test cannot be patented because “it is a discovery of a law of nature or natural phenomenon.”

True Health also argues that Cleveland has not satisfied its burden of proof regarding the fourth test for which it alleges patent infringement, stating that instead True Health “indirectly” infringes on the patent through “as-yet-unidentified third persons.”

The motion to dismiss was filed Dec. 16.

True Health has moved into the HDL building, which also secured VCU as a tenant. Photo by Katie Demeria.

True Health has moved into the HDL building, which also secured VCU as a tenant. Photo by Katie Demeria.

The final dismantling of what’s left of Health Diagnostic Laboratory has been set into motion.

The bankrupt downtown blood testing firm filed an initial Chapter 11 liquidation plan this week in federal bankruptcy court, jump-starting a process that will assign it a liquidating trustee who will determine how much HDL might pay its remaining creditors.

What exactly remains of HDL, once one of Richmond’s fastest-growing companies, is unclear. Its business and the bulk of its assets were sold in September, so it will be up to the trustee to delve into the numbers and determine how much the remaining shell of the company still has to its name – and how much it really owes to all its creditors.

The liquidation plan is in its preliminary stage, and all unsecured creditors will have an opportunity to vote on it. Those ballots are due March 22, and if they give the plan the green light, and if the court is on board, HDL could start April with a trustee.

According to documents filed when it entered bankruptcy last June, HDL owed over $85 million in unsecured claims to creditors like Pennsylvania-based law firm Pietragallo Gordon Alfano Bosick & Raspanti, Cleveland HeartLab, and Sweden-based Mercodia Inc. Creditors had a chance to file their own documents, and the total debt figures based on those filings “far exceed” the amounts that HDL reported, according to a disclosure statement also filed Jan. 4.

HDL, court records state, believes it still has “valid objections” to many of those claims.

The company filed its monthly operating report Jan. 5 which showed $34 million in assets. But that number may be even larger, as it still has pending disputed claims, such as deposits and repayments, claims for unpaid lab tests and pending litigation. The company has three unresolved lawsuits that may result in funds from damages or settlements: two against insurance giants Cigna and Aetna and one against its former sales contractor, BlueWave Healthcare Consultants.

One of the company’s largest remaining assets is its ownership stake in Biotech 8 LLC, the entity that owns HDL’s 280,000-square-foot former downtown headquarters. HDL owns almost 59 percent of Biotech 8, and according to city records, the building was most recently assessed at over $63 million.

Additionally, the company’s committee of unsecured creditors is in the midst of examining some of HDL’s former executives to determine if the company could pursue action against them.

The creditors committee has sent letters to those subject to the examination, stating that it is trying to reclaim about $400 million.

The preliminary liquidation plan dictates that secured creditors will be paid back first and in full. Both California-based Bank of the West and Ohio-based PNC Equipment Finance hold secured claims, documents show, of over $2 million and almost $4 million, respectively.

HDL already repaid some of its largest creditors, including BB&T and its bankruptcy lender following the sale of the bulk of the business to Texas-based True Health Diagnostics.

True Health, which now operates out of the former HDL headquarters, is meanwhile dealing with its own legal dustup.

The company is fighting for dismissal of patent infringement claims filed against it in November by Ohio-based Cleveland HeartLab.

Cleveland HeartLab claims True Health has used its patented blood tests aimed at detecting risks for heart disease. The lawsuit claims HDL previously had a contract to run the tests, but True Health chose not to renew the arrangement when it purchased the company.

In its response to the suit, True Health argues that three of the four patents Cleveland is attempting to defend are not patentable tests. They depend on measuring myeloperoxidase, or MPO, in the bloodstream.

“MPO is a naturally-occurring enzyme released by white blood cells when inflammation in the body occurs,” True Health’s motion states; it claims the test cannot be patented because “it is a discovery of a law of nature or natural phenomenon.”

True Health also argues that Cleveland has not satisfied its burden of proof regarding the fourth test for which it alleges patent infringement, stating that instead True Health “indirectly” infringes on the patent through “as-yet-unidentified third persons.”

The motion to dismiss was filed Dec. 16.

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