A California bankruptcy court judge gave Woodside Group, which was forced into filing for Chapter 11 on Sept. 16 by its creditors, permission to continue paying its bills and operating the business as normal during the reorganization.

The omnibus motion in the bankruptcy court for the Central District of California was approved Friday, Sept. 19, said company spokesperson Jennifer Mercer. It gives the company the ability to continue to sell homes free and clear of liens and other encumbrances, pay its employees' wages and benefits, pay its suppliers and subcontractors, and prevent utilities from altering their services to the company.

On Aug. 20, five insurance companies--holders of more than $475 million of the Utah-based company's notes--filed a petition to force the builder into involuntary bankruptcy so they could collect their debts. Two days later, JPMorgan Chase Bank, as agent for itself and 14 other lenders of $330 million to the home builder, joined the petition.

Rather than oppose the requests, on Aug. 27 Woodside, one of the Top-10 private builders in the U.S., said it would cooperate, putting itself into bankruptcy court reorganization by Sept. 16.

Founded in 1977, Woodside has a wide footprint, building in high-growth states as well as more stable markets. According to its Web site, the company builds in Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Maryland, Minnesota, Nevada, Texas, Utah, and Virginia. It also has exposure in some giant ailing joint ventures in the Las Vegas area, Inspirada and Kyle Canyon, both Focus Property developments with consortiums of big builder partners. It is active in Las Vegas Lakes as well.

Woodside was ranked No. 7 in revenue with $1 billion in sales during 2007 on the Builder 100 top private builder list. With 2,703 closings, the company was ranked No. 8 in unit sales.