Grapes Of Wrath: Contentious Arizona Wine Dispute Finally Settled

Grapes Of Wrath: Contentious Arizona Wine Dispute Finally Settled

What seemingly started out as a good idea that would materially benefit contracting parties on both sides ended up as a protracted and contentious court battle that went through successive legal filings before finally being settled.

As noted in a recent article in The Arizona Republic, what once made great sense to a wine maker and the owners of a winemaking facility, respectively, quickly spiraled into mutual finger pointing and legal sparring that progressively escalated over several years.

Rob Hammelman, noted in the above-cited article as “one of the state’s most celebrated winemakers,” was hired by “state-of-the-art” winemaking facility Aridus in 2013.

And that’s pretty much all the contracting parties ever agreed upon, namely, that the two sides had a contractual relationship.

Hammelman subsequently contended that he could make wine under his own label at the Aridus facility as long as he made agreed-upon payments. Aridus principals contended that the agreement with Hammelman stressed that the winemaker was essentially a full-time employee at the facility, with the wine he produced being a company product.

Additionally, Hammelman complained that Aridus was guilty of false labeling, a charge the company vehemently denied and followed up on by countersuing Hammelman for allegedly violating confidentiality terms spelled out in his employment contract with Aridus.

The litigation continued to pile up until it was definitively settled last month by the parties. The terms of the agreement are not publicly available.

Just as the dispute went through successive rounds of litigation, so, too, did different judges enter the fray. The final judge overseeing the matter cajoled the parties to “take the emotion out of [the dispute] and see what numbers make sense to you so you can get on to the business of making wine.”

That is ultimately what happened.

Business disputes emerge for myriad reasons, including, as noted in the above case, contradictory expectations and failed communications between contracting parties at the outset of a relationship.

An experienced commercial law firm with a demonstrated record of helping clients in complex business matters can help ensure that a client’s legal rights and interests are fully safeguarded through careful vetting, negotiation, contract drafting and, when necessary, knowledgeable and aggressive representation in court.

Call Cook & Price, PLC today at 480-407-4440 or email us through this website.

2017-09-28T06:06:34+00:00 August 17th, 2016|Categories: Business Litigation|Tags: |

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