ContractsProf Blog

Editor: Myanna Dellinger
University of South Dakota School of Law

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Pineapples Don't Merit Injunctive Relief

 

Ananas comosus dsc07804.jpg
By David Monniaux - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link

I just listened to a podcast about the fledgling pineapple industry in Hawaii in the 19th century, and then a case about pineapple crossed my inbox. (It's a snowy day on the East Coast, so thinking about pineapples is welcome.) It's a case out of the Southern District of Florida, Del Monte International v. Ticofrut, Case No. 16-23894-CIV-MARTINEZ/GOODMAN (behind paywall), and it involves Costa Rican pineapples. It's an interesting case revolving around Del Monte's quest for a preliminary injunction to stop Ticofrut from selling pineapples to third parties. Del Monte had consented to these third party sales when Del Monte and Ticofrut were in a contract together. However, once the contract ended and the negotiations between the parties didn't lead to a new contract, Del Monte objected to the third party sales as violating restrictive covenants in the old contract that survived its termination. 

The court doesn't really doubt that Ticofrut's sales are in violation of the restrictive covenants, but the court doesn't think that these violations are resulting in irreparable harm to Del Monte, and largely that's because Del Monte had previously allowed the third party sales. The court thinks it's absurd for Del Monte to argue it's being irreparably harmed by conduct that it previously had no problem with. The court sums up Del Monte's position as "it cannot be harmed by conduct it agreed to but can be harmed by that same conduct if it did not agree to it," which it finds "fundamentally faulty." The court basically says that either Del Monte permitted itself to be irreparably harmed before or the conduct doesn't irreparably harm Del Monte at all; it thinks the latter is more likely. 

The court also concludes that Del Monte's injuries here aren't unique or difficult to quantify. Pineapples can be valued pretty easily, so the court says that, unlike in other cases involving non-competes, it's not difficult to compensate Del Monte with monetary damages instead of injunctive relief. 

http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/contractsprof_blog/2017/03/pineapples-dont-merit-injunctive-relief.html

Food and Drink, Recent Cases, True Contracts | Permalink

Comments

I'm no expert on the matter, but from what I have read, big corporations tend to protect their interests vehemently when it comes to violations or perceived violations like this one. I don't think that Ticofrut will put a dent — not even a little one — in Del Monte's finances.

Posted by: Reed James | Mar 14, 2017 10:42:12 AM

Post a comment

If you do not complete your comment within 15 minutes, it will be lost. For longer comments, you may want to draft them in Word or another program and then copy them into this comment box.