Kendell Seafood Imports ordered to pay USD 575,000 to Chilean Sea Bass Inc

A box of Chilean Sea Bass Inc. portioned sea bass
Chilean Sea Bass Inc. portioned sea bass products | Photo courtesy of the Chilean Sea Bass Inc.
6 Min

Kendell Seafood Imports will have to pay more than USD 575,000 (EUR 528,000) to Chilean Sea Bass Inc. after the adjudication of a lawsuit over a pricing dispute stemming from the Covid-19 pandemic.

U.S. District Court Judge John J. McConnell Jr. ruled on 22 May that North Kingstown, Rhode Island, U.S.A.-based Kendell Seafood must repay Chilean Sea Bass (CSB) for a shipment of Antarctic toothfish received in 2020, just as the U.S. foodservice sector was shutting down at the beginning of the pandemic.

According to the decision, Kendell Seafood Owner Mike DellaGrotta agreed to pay USD 21.00 (EUR 19.29) per kilogram for the entire catch of Antarctic toothfish in March 2020, amounting to 329,042 kilograms worth USD 6.05 million (EUR 5.56 million). However, DellaGrotta, after paying USD 1.325 million (EUR 1.217 million), claimed Covid had triggered force majeure, negating the contract. 

DellaGrotta entered negotiations with Pedro Grimaldi, who presented himself as a CSB owner but who actually had lost control of the company to the Neptuno Fishing Company, owned by Carlos Celle, Alexander Celle, and Dmitri Marichev, in 2013.

Grimaldi allegedly reached an oral agreement to lower the March 2020 shipment’s per-kilo cost by USD 6.00 (EUR 5.51), for a discounted total of USD 4.075 million (EUR 3.742 million), but that rate was not approved by CSB ownership. CSB never informed DellaGrotta Grimaldi lacked authority to enter contracts or negotiate the price of fish but accepted the remainder of the payment for the shipment at the discounted rate, according to court documents. 

Few written records exist to corroborate the extent of negotiations between the two parties, but in one email, DellaGrotta proposed a ...

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