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  Cover-All shuts down operations, seeks bankruptcy protection

Cover-All Building Systems Inc., the Saskatoon-based company whose fabric-covered structures dot the Eastern Ontario farmscape, is now in bankruptcy protection, laying off nearly all its 500 employees and leaving sales and installation companies like Derrick Don Construction of Inkerman "high and dry".

A combination of the recession and the collapse of a Cover-All structure over a Dallas Cowboys practice field in Irving, Texas during a thunderstorm in May of 2009 in which 12 employees of the National Football League team were injured, caused the company to seek protection from its creditors in late March.

Don told The AgriNews April 1 that he has laid off most of his staff of six to seven full-time workers and will try to "weather the storm". He said he firmly believes that Cover-All will be back "in some way, shape or form".

Don had been erecting 80 to 90 Cover-Alls a year for the past several years although that number dipped to 55 in the past year as the recession deepened.

According to a CBC report the Cowboys' facility is one of three Cover-All structures to collapse in recent years. Joe DeCamillas, the Cowboys' special teams coach, broke his neck in the collapse but is recovering. Scouting aide Rich Behm's spine was broken and he remains paralyzed below the waist.

Both are suing Cover-All and its Pennsylvania-based sales arm, Summit Systems, for an unspecified amount in court in Dallas.

According to news reports, the structure had been engineered to withstand winds of 90mph but the Dallas facility collapsed in a storm in which winds did not exceed 65mph.

In a statement announcing the restructuring, Cover-All said it would maintain "limited operations that relate principally to engineering and safety, as well as restructuring itself."

Cover-All's head office is in Calgary and the creditor protection was granted in Alberta.



Eastern Ontario AgriNews is published on the third Monday of each month. The printed version is distributed free by postal mail to farms in Eastern Ontario, Canada.

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