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Dispute over Kobe beef cattle is settled in court

by | Sep 25, 2015 | Business Litigation

Kobe beef is an incredible delicacy — one of the best types of steak that can be found. For the most part, it comes from Japan, and one small steak — just 4 ounces — will often come with a price tag of $50. The cattle themselves sell for as much as $35,000 or even $50,000.

Those numbers became very important in a recent court case, where multiple ranches and suppliers began suing each other after a sale. A judge has just sorted the case out.

The problem started when a company from Colorado, called Bear Ranch, decided to buy 424 of the Akaushi cattle — which are used for Kobe beef — from a company in Texas, called HeartBrand.

In agreeing to the deal, HeartBrand allegedly claimed that no one else had any Akaushi cattle in the United States, claiming the only other place to get them was in Japan. As such, the company put a lot of restrictions on the sale, such as saying it still had to give permission for future sales and that the Akaushi name could not be used for 50 years — basically trying to keep from creating competition.

However, Bear Ranch then said HeartBrand had lied about having the only genetic Akaushi cattle, and therefore, started the court case to say the restrictions should be waived. A judge recently determined that the best thing to do would be to allow the supplier to buy the cattle back, paying the initial cost of the cattle and also covering the costs Bear Ranch had put into taking care of them since the purchase in 2012.

Whenever a breach of contract occurs, companies involved must know all of their legal rights, as it can invalidate the rest of the contract.

Source: Courthouse News Service, “Judge Corrals Award in Beef Cattle Dispute,” Cameron Langford, Sep. 09, 2015

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