Illinois State Court Issues Strong Ruling for the Illinois Beer Industry Fair Dealing Act

Illinois Circuit Court Judge Dorothy French Mallen conducted a five-week trial in a dispute from the litigious Shelton Brothers and their attempt to void distribution deals in the state of Illinois.  This case has a long history and originally started with a claim by Shelton Brothers against a distributor it sought to terminate seven years ago.  Fast forward to 2020 and the court rejected the attempts by Shelton Brothers to evade the Illinois Beer Industry Fair Dealing Act (BIFDA) based upon the facts of this case.

After the trial, Judge Mallen issued an memorandum and order finding Shelton Brothers owes at least $2.1 million in damages inclusive of attorneys’ fees.  She noted, “The Court finds that Shelton Brothers did not act in good faith as defined by BIFDA [Franchise Law].  River North should not have had to litigate the issues for over five years nor participate in an almost 5-week trial. Because of the position maintained by Shelton Brothers and its actions throughout this litigation, the Court awards a penalty of $100,000 to River North against Shelton Brothers.”

This opinion is a strong affirmation of the state’s fair dealing law.

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