BURLINGTON, Vt. – A Vermont judge has granted a motion for a change of venue to a California court requested by the owners of the clothing brand NorthFace in a breach of contract suit.
The case against VF Outdoor Inc., owners of the outdoor sporting brand NorthFace and others, will now be heard in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California and no longer in the U.S. District Court for the District of Vermont. U.S. District Court Judge Christina Reiss granted the motion to transfer the case July 10.
The case stems from a 2017 lawsuit involving retailer TNF Gear, a Vermont-based retailer owned by William and Linda Vinci.
The suit, which was filed in a Vermont court, alleged that VF Outdoor required the retailer to charge higher retail prices for its "premium brand." However, TNF Gear claims that after receiving $1.2 million in winter merchandise in the fall of 2015, VF Outdoor "dramatically reduced" its wholesale prices for sales made to third-party vendors. The suit states that as a result, TNF Gear was not able to compete with the drastically reduced prices that the third-party vendors could sell the same merchandise to the general public, resulting in damages to the company.
Adding that VF Outdoor was "in violation of the marketing policies with which V.F. Corp. and VF Outdoor required TNF and the Vincis to comply," TNF is seeking $5 million in damages claiming breach of contract and other counts.
According to the ruling, the motion for a change of venue was granted because it is both "a judicial district in which [the] defendant resides" and "a judicial district in which a substantial part of the events or omissions giving rise to the claim occurred[.]"
The judge also ruled that a consolidation of venues would, "be more efficient and cost effective for all involved, as opposed to pursuing parallel actions involving many of the same witnesses and documents in two different courts on opposite sides of the country."