MIAMI (Legal Newsline) – A reseller and manufacturer of wooden play kitchens allege another toy manufacturer's monopoly power in the market allows it exclude competition and raise prices.
OJ Commerce LLC and Naomi Home Inc. filed a complaint on Feb. 7 in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida against KidKraft LP and Mid-Ocean Partners LP alleging monopolization, tortious interference with contract and business relationship and other counts.
According to the complaint, the plaintiffs allege that in September 2011, KidKraft and OJC entered into an agreement whereby OJC would sell KidsKraft's products online through various marketplaces.
"After profitably selling KidKraft’s wooden play kitchens for many years, OJC’s owner decided to direct another one of his subsidiaries, NH, to compete with KidKraft by manufacturing its own wooden play kitchens. In the middle of 2013, NH began manufacturing its own line of wooden play kitchens priced below KidKraft’s," the suit states, the OJC began selling the kitchens in November 2013.
The suit states in November 2016, KidKraft terminated its relationship with OJC and ceased to ship and fulfill any OJC customer orders. The plaintiffs allege they were unable to sell the NH play kitchens because "retailers feared that if they carried NH’s kitchens, KidKraft would refuse to deal with them too."
The plaintiffs hold KidKraft LP and Mid-Ocean Partners LP responsible because the defendants allegedly prevented plaintiff from selling its competing products to any of defendant's existing retailers, restricted consumers' choice of wooden play kitchens, and artificially inflated the price consumers pay for wooden play kitchens.
The plaintiffs request a trial by jury and seek monetary, special, consequential, punitive and treble damages; attorney’s fees; court costs; interest; and any other relief the court deems proper. They are represented by Velvel Devin Freedman of Boies Schiller Flexner LLP in Miami and Shlomo Y. Hecht of Shlomo Y. Hecht PA in Miramar, Florida.
U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida case number 0:19-cv-60341