Fired vendor’s $30 million lawsuit dismissed

by Talk Business & Politics staff (staff2@talkbusiness.net) 934 views 

A $30 million wrongful termination lawsuit brought by Jon Thompson of Rogers against Florida-based Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits was abruptly dismissed Jan. 9 in Fayetteville.

Thompson’s attorney declined to say if a settlement was reached.

“The lawsuit has resolved, and as a result, I’ve dismissed it,” said Rogers attorney Marshall Ney with Friday, Eldredge & Clark. “I am unable to comment further.”

Thompson was a former vice president of national accounts for Southern Glazer’s, the largest wine and spirits distribution company in North America, distributing more than 150 million cases of product every year.  According to the original complaint, Thompson uncovered and reported during the course of his employment “numerous illegal pricing practices that favored individual retailers, violated anti-kickback and commercial bribery laws and violated federal antitrust laws. These actions consistently increased the cost of goods for both Walmart and Sam’s Club, harmed their profitability, harmed their ability to compete in the free market and increased cost to customers.”

Thompson was fired last June for his “unwillingness to engage” in those business practices, according to the filing.

The specific business practices, according to the suit, included preferential pricing, exclusives, credits, rebates, adjustments and “collusion with [Southern Glazer’s] competitors in both pricing and non-pricing practices.”

Thompson worked as a supplier focusing on Walmart since 2005, according to the complaint, and first became employed in the alcoholic beverages industry in 2008. He worked for MillerCoors before being hired by Glazer’s in 2011 as vice president of national accounts. He kept the title after Glazer’s merged with Southern Wine & Spirits of America Inc. in January 2016, at which time he became lead account manager for Walmart and Sam’s Club. He kept those responsibilities until his termination.

Thompson’s lawsuit also claims Southern Glazer’s has “aggressively” interfered in his pursuit of finding another job in the alcohol and beverage industry. Thompson’s LinkedIn page says he is co-founder of STX Business Solutions in Bentonville, providing technology and insights for the complex and highly regulated adult beverage industry. The start date is September 2017.

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