Fishman Haygood prevails in Mississippi Supreme Court

A team led by Fishman Haygood partner Alysson Mills has successfully argued Anheuser-Busch violated the Mississippi Beer Industry Fair Dealing Act when it “matched and snatched” a Mississippi beer distributor’s sale to another distributor.

Rex Distributing, a family-owned distributor in Gulfport, Mississippi, alleged Anheuser-Busch and Mitchell Distributing conspired to redirect Rex’s intended sale to Mitchell instead, to punish Rex for having done business with Yuengling, Anheuser-Busch’s competitor.  Anheuser-Busch contended its distributorship agreement gave it the right to match and redirect Rex’s sale. Rex’s complaint alleged Anheuser-Busch’s machinations were part of a continuing scheme by Anheuser-Busch to manipulate its distributors.

In a case of first impression, the Mississippi Supreme Court held that any match and redirect rights in Anheuser-Busch’s distributorship agreement are “null and void” under the Mississippi Beer Industry Fair Dealing Act.  The court also held Rex stated claims for civil conspiracy and tortious interference against Mitchell. Read the Mississippi Supreme Court’s opinion here.

The court’s precedent-setting opinion may impact Anheuser-Busch’s operations in other states. Read national press here (National Law Review) and here (Beer Business Daily).

In addition to Alysson Mills, Fishman Haygood attorneys Jason Burge and Molly Wells worked on the appeal.