The 6th Circuit upheld the district court today and ruled that the MillerCoors joint venture was not sufficient to trigger the successor supplier provision that MillerCoors attempted to use to terminate beer distributors. In the opinion the court noted that Miller and Coors exercise control over MillerCoors and do not qualify for the provision in Ohio law allowing distributors to be terminated if there is a successor supplier. It concluded: “Therefore,MillerCoors may not terminate the distributorships under the procedure outlined in subsection (D). Moreover, MillerCoors has not presented just cause for termination of the distributorships, and the Distributors did not consent to the termination. Thus, MillerCoors is also prohibited from terminating the distributorships under the general provisions of the Act.”
(earlier post) Ohio Court Rules MillerCoors Not A Successor Supplier
Distributors were able to win on summary judgement in Ohio regarding the application of the Ohio Franchise law to the MillerCoors Joint Venture. In a federal court opinion from the Southern District of Ohio, Judge Michael Watson weighed the totality of evidence to conclude that the company did not qualify as a successor under Ohio law and therefore is not able to terminate the distributors. The opinion can be found here.