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Hawker clarifies legal notice that confused employees, retirees

Hawker Beechcraft retirees who are receiving their qualified retirement benefits, such as a pension or 401(k), do not need to return a legal notice they received from the company at the end of July, according to information from the company.

In addition, employees who received their normal pay and benefits before the company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on May 3 do not have to file claims, the company said in another letter sent this week. Early in the bankruptcy proceedings, Hawker Beechcraft received court authorization to continue paying wages, commissions and benefits to employees.

Still, in late July, the company sent a letter, entitled “Notice of Deadline Requiring Filing of Proofs of Claims in the Above-Captioned Chapter 11 Cases” to employees, retirees, suppliers, vendors and other potential creditors.

The letter created confusion among retirees and employees who didn’t know whether they needed to respond, or how.

Company officials sent a follow-up letter this week. In it, they said they were required to send the July notice to anyone who is a potential creditor in the case.

“As an employee or former employee of the Company, you are considered to be a person with an interest in the case, and, therefore, a potential creditor,” said the letter, signed by Alex Snyder, Hawker Beechcraft executive vice president and general counsel, and Rich Jiwanlal, vice president of human resources.

Those who might need to file the forms would be those who have claims that go beyond routine payments covered by the authorization to pay wages and benefits. Current or former employees who have such claims that arose before the bankruptcy must submit the Proof of Claim form before the Sept. 14 deadline.

Those claims could include claims for wrongful termination, discrimination, harassment, hostile work environment, retaliation or non-qualified pensions or retirement savings plans, the company said in the letter.

“If you believe you have a claim, you may want to first consider obtaining advice from an attorney as to whether and how to submit a Proof of Claim,” it said.

Those who receive 401(k) benefits, have frozen or accrued sick time and other paid time off, or have a loss in value of equity interest, such as stock and restricted stock units, do not have to file a claim, the company said.

However, if a holder of stock or restricted stock wants to assert a claim that’s not based entirely on the ownership of an equity interest, he or she must file before the deadline date.

That includes, for example, claims for damages, rescission, reimbursement or contribution arising from the purchase or sale of equity interest, the company said.

Those who want to check to see if Hawker Beechcraft’s records reflect that they have a claim can check the company’s Schedules of Assets and Liabilities, filed with the court June 18.

Claims already on the company’s books and records are called “scheduled claims,” the letter said.

Those who agree with the amount, nature or priority of the scheduled claim need not file a Proof of Claim as long as the claim is not marked “disputed,” “contingent” or “unliquidated.”

Those who disagree or whose claims are marked as such must file a Proof of Claim before the deadline, the letter said.

More information can be found at http://dm.epiq11.com/Hawker or by calling the Hawker Beechcraft call center at 866-879-7096.

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