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Conshohocken company alleges that the Liquor Control Board forced them to close up shop and take a loss of about $81 million

Free Wine Is Not Free

Throughout the past few years Pennsylvania has seen about one hundred wine-dispensing kiosks around the state. The program was stopped a short time ago and the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board has been sitting in the hot seat ever since. The machines as it turns out, stopped appearing across our state because they were simply not very popular. It will not come as a surprise to anyone that this greatly upset the Montgomery County company that supplied these wine kiosks. The Conshohocken company alleges that the Liquor Control Board forced them to close up shop and take a loss of about $81 million. The legal battle has become quite expensive for both parties. Understandably, the concern of many is the expense being put out by the State of Pennsylvania.

The Discovery Dispute

Simple Brands, the former supplier of supermarket wine kiosks, has brought the issue to the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board’s Board of Claims, located in Harrisburg. The company’s chief complaints is that the LCB forced them out of business and unnecessarily delayed litigation. On the other side of the argument is LCB attorney Dean Piermattei. Piermattei asserts that the company engaged in delay-inducing behavior themselves. For example, Piermattei claims that during the discovery phase of the process, the Conshohocken company took about six months to respond to the LCB’s request for records. In addition to that, the company ultimately produced about 126,000 pages of information. Any delay on LCB’s part could be due to the fact that LCB attorneys are still reviewing this mountain of documents. Piermattei said in a statement, We want nothing more than to move this case along as expeditiously as possible, but we need information before we can proceed.

The Sales Dispute

criminal lawyerSimple Brands argues that LCB breached a contract that authorized the installation of 100 kiosks across Pennsylvania. The company also contends that 32 of these kiosks that were provided free of charge to supermarkets were shut down by LCB. LCB acknowledges that the machines offered over fifty different types of wine, but disputes that the machines were popular. Further, LCB’s Chief Executive Officer, Joe Conti, claims that the machines had an intrinsic problem from the start. The kiosks were ten feet high and held hundreds of wine bottles. This made them far too big for most of Pennsylvania’s rural grocery stores. Simple Brands’ attorney, Alan Fellheimer, responds that the company was working on solutions to their size issues and blames LCB for putting Simple Brands out of business. They didn’t do anything they said they were going to do, said Fellheimer in regards to the contract between LCB and Simple Brands. As the legal dispute rages on, Pennsylvania’s Liquor Control Board has spent an estimated $300,000.00 attempting to defend the claim brought by Simple Brands.

At Brownstone Law we hope for a profitable outcome for all involved and a peaceful resolution to this debate.

Federal Appeal Lawyers In Antitrust
Author Name
Robert L Sirianni
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