Wines Unlimited sues vineyard for canceling exclusive sales rights in Louisiana

Kyle Barnett Nov. 19, 2012, 12:46am

Patricia A. Krebs

NEW ORLEANS – A New Orleans-based wine wholesaler is suing a foreign winemaker in local court for canceling an exclusive agreement to distribute their products in Louisiana.

David Y. Martin, Jr. and Wines Unlimited filed suit against Devalmont Vineyards, Inc. - Gruet Winery in the Orleans Parish Civil District Court on Sept. 26.

Martin and Wines Unlimited claims that they held an exclusive agreement to sell wines produced by Devalmont Vineyards, Inc. - Gruet Winery in the state of Louisiana for 10 years. The plaintiff alleges that over that time they transformed the defendant's product from virtually unknown in the area to $188,470 in sales in 2011 alone.

Martin asserts that Devalmont Vineyards never expressed dissatisfaction with having Wines Unlimited as its area distributor. A letter sent from the defendant's president on Aug. 29, 2012 informed the plaintiff that the defendant would be switching their exclusive distribution agreement to Glazer's of Louisiana. Despite a request from Wines Unlimited that they be allowed to distribute the defendant's wines for transition period of six months the defendant told them the change was "effective immediately."

The defendant is accused of breach of contract, unfair and deceptive trade practices detrimental reliance and intentional misrepresentation.

An unspecified amount in damages is sought for loss of profits, loss of profits associated with inventory still in possession at the time the defendant terminated the distributorship agreement, costs associated with past promotional events, damage to business reputation and attorney's fees.

Martin and Wines Unlimited are represented by Patricia A. Krebs of New Orleans-based King, Krebs and Jurgens, PLLC.

The case has been assigned to Division L Judge Kern A. Reese.

Case no. 2012-09116.

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