In 2019 a small organic farmer in San Diego sued Whole Foods for breach of contract and fraud. The farm, which opened in 2005, is owned by a former Marine Corps combat veteran and his wife. The couple had been selling basil to Whole Foods when the company offered them the chance to sell their basil in 60 of their grocery stores as a ‘staple’ product.
A cautionary tale
According to the lawsuit, the company made a promise of $573,000 a year in produce from Archi’s Acres, which included money to buy an adjacent land parcel to expand the operation. The expansion construction completed in 2017, but shortly after that, the owners claim that orders reduced dramatically. Their lawyer claims that the organic grocery company used the owners in an advertising campaign and then dropped them once the campaign finished, leaving them with substantial debt and possible foreclosure.
Exploring your options
If a company fails to uphold a contract, the other party is typically eligible for relief. The primary remedies to this failure include one of the following:
- Damages: These could consist of compensatory damages per the original contract or punitive damages beyond the compensatory damages to punish the wrongful party
- A specific performance: This is essentially a court’s order to perform the duty laid out in the contract.
- Cancellation: Involves voiding the contract and removing all legal obligations from the agreement.
- Restitution: This action carried out to put the non-breaching party back into the state they were in before the breach of contract.
Finding the help your business needs
Unfortunately, it is common for larger companies to use their size to their advantage when it comes to dealing with smaller companies. If a company fails to uphold its contractual obligations, you have the right to hold them accountable. An attorney with experience in breach-of-contract disputes and business litigation can help you maintain those agreements.