Southern Awarded Over $1.25 Million in Nevada Suit Against Small Competitors

Apparently, exclusivity in Nevada is serious business.  Certainly, as a jury there recently demonstrated, violating exclusivity is expensive.
In 2002, Southern Wines & Spirits, the large Miami based distributor, sued Chateau Vegas and Transat Trade, both small distributors based in Orange County, California, for selling certain Bordeaux wines and French champagnes in Nevada.  Southern Wines & Spirits believed that, under state law, it was the exclusive importer of those wines.  In 2011, the Nevada Supreme Court agreed and upheld Southern Wines & Spirits exclusivity.  (Chateau Vegas Wine, Inc. v. Southern Wine and Spirits of America, Inc., 265 P. 3d 680 (Nev. 2011).) In late June 2013, a jury found Chateau Vegas and Transat Trade liable for $267,750 in actual damages to Southern Wines & Spirits, and a whopping $1.078 million in punitive damages.  Southern Wines & Spirits is now also seeking an additional $6.5 million in attorneys’ fees from Chateau Vegas and Transat Trade.

If you are importing and selling wine in Nevada, make sure you aren’t violating someone else’s exclusivity.  Even in Sin City, exclusivity can matter.


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