ST. LOUIS — A district judge recently denied a specialty chemical company's request for a temporary restraining order against St. Louis-based US Polymers-Accurez LLC (USPA), finding the contractual dispute belongs in arbitration.
"This Court holds that it lacks jurisdiction to hear Plaintiff's request for injunctive relief, which should be brought pursuant to the arbitration agreement," U.S. District Judge Ronnie White of the Eastern District of Missouri wrote. "Under Eighth Circuit precedent, this Court cannot enter injunctive relief where the Arbitration Act is applicable and there is no qualifying language."
Kane International Corp., based in Rye, New York, sued USPA on June 6, claiming it stole major urethane ink resin customers and tried to lure away others in breach of noncompetition and confidentiality provisions of a supply agreement they had entered into in 2009.
In part, the agreement provided the businesses would not compete with each other for three years after their agreement terminated, according to Kane’s complaint.
USPA manufactured the majority of Kane’s urethane product line. According to their agreement, USPA would not sell urethane ink resins to any other customer other than Kane, the complaint states.
The complaint further alleges that on Oct. 6, 2016, USPA gave Kane a 90-day notice of termination. Following that period, USPA continued to supply products to Kane on a month-to-month basis until the end of May, according to court documents.
At that point, USPA contacted Kane's primary urethane ink resin customer Seigwerk, which canceled its purchase orders with Kane and went with USPA, the complaint states.
"Seigwerk accounts for more than forty percent (40%) of Kane's business in urethane ink resins," the complaint states.
Kane also alleges that on May 31, USPA got another one of its major customers, INX International Ink Co., to cancel its purchase order with Kane to go with USPA.
White found that language in the parties' supply agreement does not qualify the court as having jurisdiction over the matter.
"Here, the arbitration provision states, 'If Kane and USPA should have a major disagreement that we can not work out among ourselves we both agree to settle said disagreement in Arbitration, according to the law of the State of New York,'" White wrote.