By KEVIN LESSMILLER
DOTHAN, Ala. (CN) – Campbell’s Soup sued a food processor, a distributor and a grocer, claiming it hired the processor to destroy unusable food or feed it to farm animals, but the processor diverted it and sold it to people through the grocer.
Campbell Soup Co. sued Midwest Processing LLC, Dexter Jorgensen, Richard Tate, Tate Grocery Inc., and Golden View Logistics, in Federal Court.
Campbell’s deems expired products or damaged containers unsalable, and arrange with a third party to get rid of them, the complaint states.
The unidentified third party, which is not a party to the lawsuit, hired Midwest to destroy the unsalable food or feed to it farm animals, according to the complaint. But that is not what happened, Campbell says.
“Defendants Midwest, Jorgensen, Golden View, Tate Grocery, and Tate, all acting in concert, negligently, willfully and/or intentionally arranged for the unsalable Campbell products to be diverted to Hartford, Alabama for eventual sale to consumers,” the complaint states. “Defendants were aware that the unsalable Campbell products were designated for destruction and did not meet the quality standards established by Campbell.”
Products that should not have been sold to people, but were, include Campbell’s soups and V8, Prego, Swanson and SpaghettiOs branded products, according to the complaint.
Midwest even delivered fake “certificates(s) of disposal” to Campbell to further the “diversion scheme,” according to the complaint. Instead of destroying or recycling the products, Campbell says Midwest diverted them to its warehouse in Hartford.
“Eventually, the unsalable Campbell products were transported to Tate Grocery, also in Hartford, Alabama, and potentially other locations unknown to Campbell and CSSC at present, where they are available for sale – and were sold – to customers,” the complaint states. “Neither Campbell nor CSSC authorized defendants to sell unsalable Campbell products.”
Campbell demands that the products be recalled at defendants’ expense, an injunction, and punitive damages for false designation of origin, trademark infringement, false advertising, trademark dilution, fraud, negligence and civil conspiracy.
Campbell is represented by W. Edward Bailey, with Maynard, Cooper & Gale in Birmingham.