In a letter sent to the judge that ruled against his company in a lawsuit filed by one of its customers, Frama Seafood’s Amado Rodriguez said his company is at risk of insolvency.
Pinecrest, Florida-based Frama Seafood was ordered to pay more than USD 1 million (EUR 891,400) in compensation after California Superior Court Judge Eddie C. Sturgeon found Frama had fraudulently sent underweight loads of poor-quality salmon to Lotus Seafood on three occasions.
“Your decision has destroyed my company along with my family’s financial well-being and, with all due respect, I do not think that this judgment had any merits based on the complaint and trial,” Rodriguez wrote to the judge.
Rodriguez questioned whether Lotus suffered damages from the shipments, considering they had been granted credit memos and price reductions for two shipments, and did not pay for the third.
“Lotus admitted these were their first three shipments of salmon they had ever done,” Rodriguez wrote. “Why would exiting the extremely competitive salmon market after three containers create financial losses to Lotus and entitle them to such a large sum?”
In an email to SeafoodSource, Rodriguez denied an association with Agromar or its purported representative Ricardo Baeza, who, according to the lawsuit, provided a bad check to Lotus for USD 30,000 (EUR 26,700) to guarantee Frama’s final salmon shipment. Rodriguez noted Lotus moved to voluntarily dismiss Agromar from the lawsuit.
Rodriguez said he did not receive a response from Judge Sturgeon to the letter, which was sent 18 October, 2018. As a result of Sturgeon's judgment, Frama Seafood owes Lotus Seafood USD 875,365 (EUR 778,400) plus interest and the cost of the litigation, with the total award valued at USD 1.03 million (EUR 918,000). Rodriguez said Frama is unable to pay that amount.
“We are a small business that does not have this amount of money to pay for this judgment,” Rodriguez wrote in the letter.
The ruling forced Rodriguez to terminate his staff so that he remains Frama’s only employee, he told SeafoodSource.
“Our company is barely surviving and the bad publicity created by Lotus is destroying us and making it very difficult to continue,” he said.