Pepin Heights, U of M, receive SweeTango vindicationA judge in Hennepin County on Friday tossed out most of the lawsuit that a group of apple growers had leveled against Pepin Heights Orchard and the University of Minnesota.
By: R-E News Staff, The Republican Eagle
A judge in Hennepin County on Friday tossed out most of the lawsuit that a group of apple growers had leveled against Pepin Heights Orchard and the University of Minnesota.
Twenty-six growers had joined a lawsuit that claimed an agreement between Pepin Heights and the university to produce and market a coveted apple kept them from cashing in on the SweeTango variety. They said that deal broke antitrust laws.
Pepin Heights issued a press release voicing the company's pleasure with the judge's dismissal.
"We're pleased that the judge has dismissed all of the plaintiffs' antitrust claims, which were the meat of their case," Tim Byrne, vice president of sales, said in a release Friday. "We're confident discovery will reveal their remaining claims to be meritless as well."
In the release, Bryne said this would end up being good for everyone, consumers - "apple growers, retailers and the University of Minnesota."
Under the agreement, Pepin Heights is the primary marketing and production creature for the SweeTango. The deal allows other growers to produce the SweeTango, but they are prohibited from selling to wholesalers or pooling production to wholesale the apple.
The judge has ordered the two sides into mediation.