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Wine, Beer & Spirits Companies Targeted by Clawback Lawsuits Filed in Fresh & Easy Bankruptcy


This is one of Wine Industry Insight’s three-part series on the Fresh and Easy bankruptcy and its effects on wine and alcoholic beverage creditors. Two of the three articles contain material and links to court documents available only to premium subscribers. The three articles in the series are:



NOTE: Wine Industry Insight emailed more than two dozen of the attorneys on all sides of the bankruptcy, asking for comment. 11 attorneys defending Fresh and Easy clawback targets. Because of the pending litigation, none would speak on the record. However, all of them considered the current Unsecured Creditors Committee action an abuse of the process.


One attorney not associated with defending clawback targets responded with an angry phone call. Before hanging up abruptly, the attorney — who did not identify himself — said, “Mind your own business.”

Among the 309 clawback lawsuits filed by the Fresh & Easy unsecured creditors committee are at least 32 wine, beer & spirits companies.


According to a statement on page 41 of the Feb. 1 Chapter 11 Plan and Disclosure statement  the committee filed complaints demanding the repayment of $30,968,042.44. At least 2/3 of that is expected to come from a settlement with Burkle and his companies.

Wine Executive News subscribers please click here to read the complete article.

Also In This Article:

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  • Fraud charged despite no specific allegations

  • What is preferential treatment? Gallo’s case may shed light

  • Why Gallo Wine Company sued but not Wine Warehouse?

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Craft Beer Guild Distributing tells a different story

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Understanding bankruptcy clawbacks from the American Bar Assn & Lexis/Nexis.

While it may not be possible to make sense out of the clawback documents filed by the Unsecured Creditor’s Committee, article three in this series should clear up some questions relating to the intended purposes and requirements: Understanding bankruptcy clawbacks from the American Bar Assn & Lexis/Nexis.

Court documents available for Premium Subscribers

The author of this article is not a lawyer but he stayed at a Holiday Inn Express last night.


But seriously, Wine Industry Insight Publisher and Executive Editor Lewis Perdue has covered courts at every level for more than 45 years: from the lowest local level to the highest federal courts.


That experience includes Perdue’s time covering the U.S. Supreme Court as a Washington correspondent for Dow-Jones publications and major newspapers. Perdue was also admitted to classes at the Cornell Law School as part of an honors program as an undergraduate there. With his nearly off-the-chart LSATs, he narrowly escaped becoming a lawyer like so many of his family members.


Perdue’s coverage in this case — especially sections dealing with the procedural chaos, lack of transparency, and apparent abuse of the clawback process — reflects that experience and how this case departs so strikingly and negatively from scores of other bankruptcies he has covered.