Del Monte Foods' fresh fruit claims ruled fraudulent - The Packer

Del Monte Foods' fresh fruit claims ruled fraudulent

04/09/2012 09:46:00 AM
Tom Karst

Jordan said it was too early to say how Fresh Del Monte might adjust its product line in reaction to the verdict.

The next step in the case will depend on a number of factors, he said.

The judge in the case is expected to schedule a hearing for the parties to gather views on how an injunction should be fashioned — how to remove the products from retail shelves.

“It will be up to the judge to decide,” Jordan said April 9.

Arturo Gonzalez, lawyer Del Monte Foods, said the company is disappointed in the verdict but pleased that damages fall short of Fresh Del Monte’s request of more than $70 million.

Gonzalez said Del Monte Foods will continue to have a strong presence in the refrigerated part of the produce department.

“The difference is that pineapple will have to be eliminated from that selection,” Gonzalez said.

One alternative would be to sell refrigerated pineapple under a different name. Other fruits in question in the license agreement — melons, berries, bananas and papayas — don’t have a significant presence in the refrigerated section of the produce department, Gonzalez said.

He said in an e-mail that marketing of refrigerated grapefruit won’t be affected by the jury’s verdict.

Gonzalez said Del Monte Foods won’t fold up shop in the refrigerated produce case as a result of the jury’s verdict.

“There is no question in my mind that (Del Monte Foods) will continue to be No. 1 in the refrigerated part of the produce department because they have the best product,” he said.

Gonzalez said the jurors found fault with the “Fruit Undressed” advertising campaign that has not been used for more than a year.

“It’s unfortunate that the jurors thought there was something about the advertisement that they were not happy, but it’s a moot point,” he said.

Gonzalez said Fresh Del Monte has three weeks to file a motion for an injunction and Del Monte Foods would have three weeks to respond. After that, Gonzalez said the court will make a decision.

He said he anticipates Fresh Del Monte will want Del Monte Foods Co. to remove the commodities from refrigerated cases.

“There are a number of legal options that Del Monte is considering, including the possibility of an appeal,” Gonzalez said.

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JC Cook    
Wilmington,NC  |  April, 09, 2012 at 12:08 PM

Mom was right. I should have been a lawyer.

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