Snack manufacturer asks federal court to drop company employee named in suit

By Mary Ann Magnell | Sep 12, 2018

The companies are based in different states.  

KANSAS CITY — A bakery company and snack distributor recently sought to move a contract dispute to federal court.

On Aug. 30, Bimbo Bakeries USA Inc. (BBUSA) and Barcel USA LLC filed the notice of removal with the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri. In the document, the companies' attorney argued the two entities are based in different states and the underlying lawsuit's damages could exceed $75,000.

S&K Leimkuehler Inc. (S&K) filed a lawsuit in July after Barcel ended a 10-year purchase agreement that allowed S&K to resell its bakery's products. S&K alleges Barcel and BBUSA conspired to cut S&K out of the market. 

S&K claims it "invested hundreds of  thousands of dollars" to establish and grow a market for the Barcel products. S&K seeks to lost profits and revenue, lost investments  and damage to their reputation and goodwill.  

Barcel argues it had the right to end the agreement and sent a termination letter 90 days before.

S&K also alleged a BBUSA sales manager, Scott DeVita, was personally involved in interfering with its business. 

S&K alleged three claims against Mr. DaVita, including tortious  interference with contract and business expectations, tortious  interference with business relations and business expectations and civil  conspiracy.

BBUSA and Barcel want the federal court to drop DeVita from the lawsuit, because he is a low-level employee. They claim DeVita was fraudulently joined on the lawsuit.

“If the threshold for holding an employee personally liable were as low as S&K’s allegations,” the filing stated, “then ostensibly every employee of every company would be personally liable for every tortious interference committed by an employer.”  

U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri, Western Division, Case number 18-686

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Bimbo Bakeries USA U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri

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