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Canadian Court Gives 👍 to Contract Accepted by Emoji

Harvest is underway in wine country. During this season there is increased demand for skilled labor, transportation, and crush facilities. Buyers and sellers of fruit have a short window to make deals. A busy harvest season also lends itself to casual communication about crops, like this:     Now, did you just tell your friend […]

COLA’s Provide Scant Protection from Class Action Lawsuits

ShipCompliant recently published a guest blog post by DP&F Wine Law attorney John Trinidad on the class action lawsuits claiming that the use of the term “handmade” on vodka bottles constituted false or misleading information under state consumer protection laws.   Over the past year, a slew of class action lawsuits have been filed claiming that […]

Always Read The Contract – They Wrecked Your Wine, But Now Won’t Pay

You send your Chardonnay to a custom crush facility for bottling.  A month later the wine in one out of about every ten bottles is brown.  It oxidized in the bottle.  You are forced to pull all your Chardonnay from the market at significant expense, and you fear your brand has suffered.  The evidence suggests […]

Prop 65 Lawsuit – Where Are We, How Did We Get Here And Where To Now?

You have seen the signs all over California; they exist on parking garages, gas stations, office buildings and convenience stores: “Warning, this area contains a chemical known to cause cancer or birth defects.” These signs exist because of Prop 65, which California voters enacted in 1986. It was originally presented as a way to prevent […]

Eighth Circuit Rejects Southern Wine and Spirits Appeal, Says States May Discriminate Against Out of State Wholesalers.

Despite being the 32nd largest private company in the U.S. according to Forbes Magazine and operating in almost a dozen states, Southern Wine and Spirits of America continues to have trouble entering the Missouri market.  Last week, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit denied Southern’s appeal challenging the constitutionality of Missouri’s alcohol […]

Harvest Time and Grape Growers’ Liens – Custom Crushers Beware

A few years ago, we wrote about the producer’s lien.  As I explained in my prior post, the law provides a grape grower with an automatic lien against any wine made from the grower’s grapes.  This lien, called a “producer’s lien,” means that the winery cannot lawfully sell the wine without paying the grower.  It gives […]

Charlie Trotter Files Answer in Wine Fraud Lawsuit

In June 2013, Plaintiffs Ilir and Bekim Frrokaj filed a lawsuit claiming that celebrated chef Charlie Trotter sold them a counterfeit magnum of 1945 Domaine de la Romanee-Conti in June 2012. Trotter filed his answer yesterday, in which he denies that the wine sold to Plaintiffs is counterfeit or fraudulent. Trotter’s answer can be found […]

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 […]

Update on The Battle of Missouri and Franchise Distribution Law

On June 20, a Missouri Circuit Court judge issued one of the first judicial rulings in a battle that could dramatically affect the relationship between producers and distributors of alcohol. In Missouri, Diageo PLC, Bacardi Ltd., and Pernod Ricard SA are all lobbying to end the state’s franchise laws.  These laws, which ten other states […]

Diageo Americas v. Major Brands: Franchise Law Litigation and Forum Selection

Wineries big and small face difficulties in trying to terminate distribution ageements in franchise law states.  We posted an article a few weeks ago about a lawsuit filed by Diageo Americas, Inc. against its Missouri distributor, Major Brands, Inc.  Diageo has asked the federal district court in Connecticut to issue a declaratory judgment allowing the company […]

Franchise Laws and Diageo’s Recent Distributor Termination Action in Missouri

Ohio,New Jersey,North Carolina,Virginia, and a number of other states restrict a winery’s ability to terminate distributors in that state through “franchise laws.” The Virginia Wine Franchise Act, for example, prevents a winery from unilaterally amending, cancelling, terminating or refusing to renew anyVirginia distribution agreement absent good cause, and good cause is very narrowly defined.  A […]

TROs and Preliminary Injunctions: The Wine Advocate, Inc. v. Antonio Galloni

Much has been written about the lawsuit filed by Robert Parker’s company, The Wine Advocate, Inc. (“TWA”), against Antonio Galloni, specifically on the allegations of fraud, defamation and breach of contract. But buried on page 21 of this 26 page complaint may be one of the most intriguing aspects of this action: a request by […]

Alcohol Beverage Licenses as Assets in Debt Collection

A recent US Bankruptcy Court case from the Middle District of Florida highlights the pitfalls of attempting to value certain assets, including a bar and liquor license, without expert assistance (Zaslavsky v. Smith (In re Smith) January 31, 2013, 2013 Bankr. LEXIS 434). In this matter, plaintiff creditor brought an adversary proceeding against defendant bankruptcy […]

Wine Industry Lawsuits: How to Avoid Them

No one expects to have to go to court when they start a business deal or venture, or when they plant a vineyard or purchase real estate, but in today’s world no industry is free from lawsuits, particularly not the wine industry. Disputes over grape purchase agreements (duration, termination, quality standards, etc.), vineyard development agreements […]

Winery Exchange v. 7-Eleven – $2 million Supplier Dispute

An interesting case in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California recently came to our attention. Winery Exchange (“WX”), a private label wine and beer producer, has sued 7-Eleven Corporation (yes, that 7-Eleven ) alleging it breached a series of Private Label Beer Supplier Agreements to the tune of approximately $2.0 million. […]

Seminar on How to Collect on Deadbeat Accounts

Dickenson Peatman & Fogarty partner David Balter was featured speaker at the National Business Institute’s seminar “Collections; Seeking and Collecting a Judgment,” which was held on January 24, 2012 in San Francisco, California. This seminar will be of special interest to wineries, growers, distributors and retailers, as well as anyone interested in learning the nuts and bolts of […]

Stopping Gray Market Wine Imports

On October 1, 2011, Scott Gerien, head of Dickenson, Peatman & Fogarty’s intellectual property practice group made a presentation at the annual meeting of the International Wine Law Association in Logrono, Spain on the issue of stopping gray market wine imports in the U.S.  The ability to prevent gray market imports, especially as to wine, […]

Can Expanding Your Wine Distribution Expose You to Lawsuits in Other States?

Attorneys, and particularly litigation attorneys such as me, get excited when the U.S. Supreme Court issues new “jurisdiction” proclamations.  The Court did just that in late-June, and the Court’s recent rulings have some impact on wineries. First, I will explain “jurisdiction” and outline prior law regarding jurisdiction.  Then, I will address the Supreme Court’s new […]

The Producer’s Lien: An Often Overlooked Legal Remedy in Grape Contract Disputes

In the wine industry, one of the most common legal disputes is breach of contract between grape growers and wineries.  Often times, grape growers are surprised to learn that, upon the delivery of grapes to a winery, they automatically have a statutory lien against any wine made from those grapes.  This lien, called a “producer’s […]

The Wine Group Sues Marc Anthony Group, Seeks Declaratory Judgment Upholding Termination of Marc Anthony in Canada

In August of 2010, the California-based The Wine Group LLC broke off its nearly 23 year relationship with Vancouver-based Marc Anthony Group, Inc.  The two corporations, however, are not parting ways quietly. Marc Anthony Group made a great deal of money selling The Wine Group wines, including Big House, Cardinal Zin, Inglenook, and Corbett Canyon.  In […]

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Topics: LitigationWine Law