LOS ANGELES – A wine seller based in Argentina alleges a distributor intentionally undermined its position in the U.S. market by causing its wines to go out of stock.

Bodegas Y Viñedos Pascual Toso SA filed a complaint on Aug. 16 in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California against Guarachi Wine Partners Inc. alleging breach of contract, unfair competition and declaratory judgment.

According to the complaint, the defendant was plaintiff's distributor. The suit states that the parties entered into an agreement in 2003 and that it expired in 2013, but they continued to work together. The plaintiff alleges that in the spring of this year, it informed the defendant of its new importer and distributor and asked the defendant to turn over licenses, product registrations and existing inventory to the new distributor as was customary.

The defendant allegedly retaliated against the plaintiff by refusing to pay $190,000 balance owed, refused to sell the plaintiff's remaining wines, would not authorize the new distributor and insisted that a draft agreement it proposed in 2015 was binding and stated plaintiff had to pay $5 million for the termination of an unsigned agreement. The plaintiff holds Guarachi Wine Partners Inc. responsible because the defendant allegedly refused to pay outstanding invoices for purchased wine and deprived plaintiff of the opportunity to sell its wines in the United States.

The plaintiff requests a trial by jury and seeks judgment against defendant, damages of at least $190,000 plus interest, costs of suit, attorney's fees and a declaration that the July 2015 draft agreement is not enforceable. It is represented by Paul W. Reidl of Law Office of Paul W. Reidl in Half Moon Bay.

U.S. District Court for the Central District of California Case number 2:16-cv-06127

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