ContractsProf Blog

Editor: Myanna Dellinger
University of South Dakota School of Law

Wednesday, May 3, 2006

Whole Foods Tries to Duck Contract Skirmish Based on its Foie Gras Policy

800pxducks_in_plymouth_massachusetts As you may have heard, Chicago has banned the sale of foie gras (French for fattened duck liver).  Momentum is apparently gaining for similar legislation in Philadelphia.  Proponents of the legislation want to save the ducks from the cruelty of force feeding.  Opponents believe the government shouldn’t tell people what they can eat.  Whole Foods, the large "natural foods" supermarket chain, sides with the ducks: as a matter of policy, it doesn’t sell foie gras.  In fact, it won’t do business with any company that processes or distributes foie gras. The New York Times reports that this position has found Whole Foods in a bit of a legal skirmish.

Grimaud Farms sells ducks to Whole Foods. Grimaud also happens to process and distribute foie gras for Sonoma Foie Gras.

Whole Foods to Grimaud: we will not continue to do business you unless you terminate your relationship with Sonoma Foie Gras.

Grimaud to Sonoma Foie Gras: Whole Foods is putting the pressure on us, we have to terminate our contract with you at the end of this month.

The Result: Sonoma Foie Gras is suing Whole Foods for intentional interference with contract and seeks compensatory and punitive damages.

Apparently a motion to dismiss is pending, and will be heard on Friday.

[Meredith R. Miller]

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