High Liner, Haven Foods’ trade secrets case goes to private mediation

Published on
November 7, 2019

A federal judge ordered that the High Liner Foods versus Haven Foods trade secrets lawsuit go to private mediation.

“Counsel are directed to contact the private mediator of their choice to arrange a date and time for the mediation,” wrote U.S. District Judge/ Magistrate Judge John A. Kronstad in the order.

The mediation should be completed by 24 June, 2020, and Lunenberg, Nova Scotia, Canada-based High Liner and Los Angeles, California-based Haven should file a notice of settlement or joint report by the end of July 2020, Rosenberg said.

In late September, High Liner and Haven agreed to “engage in preliminary settlement discussions and to explore settlement,” according to a Joint Report. However, at the time, the two suppliers leveled accusations against the other and laid out a proposed trial schedule that would run through January 2021.

In the lawsuit, filed in June, High Liner said that former Rubicon executives Justin Kirby, Nicholas Leonard, Lucas Biging, and Ernest Dominguez, who worked in High Liner’s frozen shrimp division, utilized proprietary information to snatch Kroger’s “Simple Truth” shrimp business from High Liner.

Kirby and Leonard incorporated Los Angeles, California-based Haven Foods in early February, and the company is based at a cold storage facility previously used by Rubicon to house millions of dollars of inventory for Rubicon’s customers, the complaint said.

High Liner estimated that damages will exceed USD 10 million (EUR 9.2 million), and has filed two other complaints against Kirby and Leonard in other courts.

However, Haven Foods denied the allegations and said that High Liner was unhappy with the outcome of Kroger’s “open and competitive bid process” and is trying to “justify High Liner’s USD 107 million [EUR 98.2 million] acquisition of Rubicon that resulted in multiple executive firings (including multiple CEOs of High Liner), layoffs, and the loss of other non-exclusive Rubicon customers prior to Leonard and Kirby’s departure – seek to exert anti-competitive leverage against Haven Foods,” Haven wrote in the joint report.

Image courtesy of High Liner Foods

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