Foodbuy, LLC, sued Gregory Packaging, INC, for $1 million, instead Gregory Packaging was awarded $21.2 million.
Gregory Packaging is a 100-year-old juice manufacturer that has worked with Foodbuy – the largest food service company in the world – since 2011. Foodbuy is a group purchasing organization based in the UK, with their North American headquarters in Charlotte.
According to Gregory Packaging’s counsel, Russ Ferguson of Womble Bond Dickinson, after years of being in contract with one another Gregory Packaging began suspecting that they were being overcharged by Foodbuy and therefore didn’t pay their latest invoice.
“At the end of Foodbuy’s relationship Gregory Packaging started to see that something was going on,” Ferguson said. “There were certain indications that they were being overcharged by Foodbuy, so there was about a million dollars of invoices that Gregory packaging didn’t pay. And [Gregory Packaging was] working that out with Foodbuy when Foodbuy sued them to get the million dollars.”
Gregory Packaging counterclaimed and ended up winning $9.2 million from Foodbuy for their breach of contract.
Foodbuy appealed that decision and as a result Gregory packaging cross appealed.
After re-examination, the judge on this case, Judge Whitney, ordered another $14 million be paid to Gregory Packaging after discovering that Foodbuy was guilty of was more than just a breach of contract, but also unfair and deceptive trade practices.
Unfair and deceptive trade practices regarding this case can be seen through Foodbuy concealing their breach of contract and systemically overcharging Gregory Packaging.
During this examination it was also found that these unfair and deceptive trade practices done by Foodbuy were not unique to Gregory Packaging, and ultimately resulted in their loss of $21.2 million.
According to Ferguson, this ruling will add some much-needed clarity to the policies regarding unfair and deceptive trade practices.
“The law around the Unfair and Deceptive Trade Practices Act has been really muddled for a long time,” Ferguson said. “And that’s particularly true when there’s a contract between parties, because there are all sorts of laws around when you can apply the Unfair and Deceptive Trade Practices Act and when you cannot. I think that [Judge] Whitney’s order really provided some much-needed clarity for future litigants on the Unfair and Deceptive Trade Practices Act.”
Foodbuy’s counsel declined to comment on this verdict.
Is this a verdict or a settlement? Verdict
Type of case: Federal Breach of Contract and Unfair and Deceptive Trade Practices Act
Injuries alleged: Beach of contract; Unfair and Deceptive Trade Practices
Case name: Foodbuy, LLC v. Gregory Packaging, Inc.
Court: Western District of North Carolina
Case No.: Case No. 3:16-CV-00809
Judge: The Honorable Frank D. Whitney
Date of verdict or settlement: August 4, 2022
Demand [for verdicts]: N/A
Highest offer [for verdicts]: N/A
Bench or jury trial? [for verdicts]: Bench Trial
Special damages [if applicable]: N/A
Most helpful experts [if applicable]: N/A
Insurance carrier [if applicable]: N/A
Attorney(s) for plaintiff (Foodbuy, Counterclaim Defendant) and their firm(s): Mark Nebrig, Fielding Huseth – Moore & Van Allen
Attorney(s) for defendant (Gregory Packaging, Counterclaim Plaintiff) and their firm(s): Russ Ferguson, Sam Hartzell – Womble Bond Dickinson
Was the opposing represented by counsel? Yes
Were liability and/or damages contested? Yes
Has the judgment been successfully collected? Partially