On Thursday in the New York State Supreme Court for the County of New York, Tristar Food Wholesale Co. filed a complaint against OCM Group USA alleging the company breached a written agreement to not sell “Chinese Herbal Tea” in the eastern United States. The complaint accused OCM of “secretly distributing and selling products on the Eastern seaboard, outside their exclusive contractual territory,” as well as ignoring demands from Tristar that they stop the activity.
Tristar is a New Jersey company and OCM is a California company, however, OCM Group USA NJ is organized in New Jersey. Both were listed as defendants and were accused of selling the tea and violating the agreement between the two parties.
As part of the agreement, called the Wang Lao Ji West Coast Distribution Agreement, Tristar agreed not to sell Wang Lao Ji brand products, including the tea, in the West Coast region. OCM purportedly agreed not to sell the products “outside the Western US Market.”
The complaint said that OCM has marketed and sold the products, and continues to do so, in Illinois, Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania, and other locations outside the Western market the company agreed to use for sales. The plaintiff also claimed that the company distributes Wang Lao Ji products from warehouses outside the Western United States.
The plaintiff claimed it demanded the company stop violating the agreement on August 7, but the defendants continued their practices leading Tristar to file a lawsuit. Tristar claimed the defendants had a duty to remain in the western market and asked that they pay the plaintiff compensation and damages.
Tristar, represented by Wesley Martin Mullen, also asked the court to enjoin the defendants from continuing to break the agreement. They asked in the complaint for an accounting from OCM of any loss or revenue related to Wang Lao Ji product distribution that violated the agreement.