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Commercial dispute involves Green Mountain Coffee, Fortitech

Many Maryland business owners base their work on contracts between themselves and individuals or other companies. When a contract is not followed, it can lead to financial issues -- and legal disputes. A nutrient company is suing coffee company Green Mountain Coffee for allegedly failing to follow through on a contract.

Fortitech initiated the commercial dispute, claiming that it was under the impression that Green Mountain Coffee was going to continue using its premixes. Fortitech, which creates vitamins and minerals for use in energy bars and drinks, was Green Mountain Coffee's supplier from 2010 to 2013.

According to Fortitech, Green Mountain Coffee "kept up appearances" that it would continue to purchase the premixes. But, the company never did, leaving Fortitech with $1.77 million of inventory. The company is now suing Green Mountain Coffee for the amount of the inventory, plus interest and attorney's fees.

Although Fortitech claims that Green Mountain Coffee breached a contract, was there a contract in place after January 2013? Just because a company says they will purchase future inventory does not necessarily mean it will happen. A verbal contract typically cannot be enforced in the court of law. Without a written contract, it's just one company's word against the other.

Without an enforceable contract, Fortitech should not have made the decision to purchase additional inventory -- especially so much. Fortitech went ahead and purchased 405,822 pounds of premix inventory based on the prior contract it had with the company as well as the company's "representations." Now the company and its legal team hope it will get its money back. However, that decision will be left to the court.

Source: Albany Business Review, "Fortitech sues Green Mountain Coffee for breach of contract" No author given, Mar. 07, 2014

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