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Grocers' business litigation set for trial

Georgia readers may be aware that Associated Grocers and Rouse's grocery stores -- which both operate in neighboring states -- enjoyed a long relationship until 2008. Since that time, the two companies have been involved in contentious business litigation. That litigation is finally set for trial before a jury in the coming weeks.

The relationship between the two companies began over 40 years ago. Since that time, their growth and success were intertwined. Up until 2008, Rouse's grocery sales accounted for over 18 percent of the business of Associated Grocers. Rouse's also owned stock in Associated Grocers that equaled approximately 20 percent of the available shares. In the year leading up to their split, Rouse's purchased nearly $148 million worth of products for its stores from the company.

Rouse's claims that it was stripped of its seat on the board of directors of the grocer in March 2008. Further, Rouse's claims the company improperly seized Rouse's stock in the company and sold it. It was also at this time that Associated Grocers announced that it would no longer be supplying goods to Rouse's.

Associated Grocers contends that it was Rouse's that caused the degradation of the business relationship when it began looking to partner with other companies. It also claims that Rouse's was paid approximately $11.9 million for its stock in the company, which was calculated using the prevailing price from 2007. An additional claim indicates that it was Rouse's that wanted to terminate the relationship.

Rouse's is not only asking for a monetary award in this business litigation -- it is also asking for the court to order Associated Grocers to reinstate the grocery chain's membership. When Georgia companies file litigation against another company with which it does business, many ask for non-monetary considerations. Financial restitution is not the only award courts can give.

Source: theadvocate.com, "Rouse's, Associated Grocers dispute set for trial", Bill Lodge, Oct. 12, 2014

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