Trial date in McKee-Aryzta spat set for August 2022

Trial date in McKee-Aryzta spat set for August 2022

COLLEGEDALE, TENN. — A breach-of-contract lawsuit initiated by McKee Foods Corp. in 2017 against Aryzta LLC will head to trial in August 2022, said Judge Christopher H. Stegar of the US District Court Eastern District of the Tennessee at Chattanooga.

Aryzta on Dec. 30, 2019, filed a motion with the US District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee at Chattanooga that would require McKee Foods Corp. to provide financial information related to a lawsuit filed by McKee back in 2017.

McKee sued Aryzta in 2017 for an alleged breach of contract. In the 2017 lawsuit, McKee said it lost millions of dollars in profits after a raid by the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency at Aryzta’s Cloverhill production facilities near Chicago prompted a mass exodus in labor and, by extension, led to a disruption in McKee’s supply chain.

At the time, Aryzta said the loss of 800 workers at Cloverhill was outside its control and that the employees at the facilities had been supplied by a third-party work agency.

In its Dec. 30 filing, Aryzta alleged McKee of taking “an obstructionist position” by refusing to provide relevant information after the termination of the companies’ original manufacturing agreement (OMA) dated Aug. 18, 2017.

Much has taken place at Aryzta since the dispute originated. In 2018, Aryzta sold the Cloverhill bakery assets to Hostess Brands, Inc. Meanwhile, its Cicero, Ill., plant was sold to Bimbo Bakeries USA.

Earlier this year, Aryzta exited the North American baking industry, selling its operations to private equity firm Lindsay Goldberg for $850 million. The business is now known as Aspire Bakeries.

Judge Stegar in his June 21 filing established deadlines for Aryzta and McKee to submit discovery, expert testimony and witness lists in early 2022, with a pre-trial conference set for Aug. 16, 2022, and a final trial date of Aug. 30, 2022. The trial is expected to last five days.