Alice Jump Discusses Retail Grower Relationships Post-COVID-19 with American Vegetable Grower Magazine
COVID-19 has introduced tensions into the contractual relationship between vegetable growers and grocery retailers. Despite being open, many grocery stores tried to limit produce stock because they didn’t have enough, or consistent, labor to unload and process. That meant growers had to discard large percentages of their harvest and incur major losses, regardless of what their supply contracts stipulated. Growers are now wondering how to proceed with these relationships knowing that those retailers breached or ignored the terms of the contract.
American Vegetable Grower reached out to RPJ Partner Alice K. Jump to provide legal perspective on the issue for its June 3 article, “How Growers Can Repair Broken Relationships”. While court may seem like an obvious option, Jump indicates, it’s probably not a good one, because of force majeure clauses, any already significant financial losses, plus the need for both parties to keep the relationship going. “Don’t throw out the entire contract,” Jump says. “The key to working something out is to make sure you do it in a narrow and focused way and that you document it carefully.”
The article continues to discuss specific approaches to negotiations, potential mediation or dispute resolution, and how growers can use this experience to get better terms and more equal risk sharing in the future. Jump asserts, “If you go in with both empathy and professionalism, you can work something out.”
Read more of Jump’s comments in the full article here.