Swisher International loses $44.4 million antitrust lawsuit

Jensen Werley

Swisher International, a major Jacksonville manufacturer of cigarillos and cigars, lost its case against the company Trendsettah on Wednesday and was hit with $44.4 million in damages.

Trendsettah said it entered into an agreement with Swisher to produce its Splitarillo product line, and then Swisher strangled the growth of the products when they were becoming more popular by restricting production.

The jury found Swisher broke its agreement with TSI and that it broke Section 2 of the Sherman Act, ramping up the $14.8 million in damages up to $44.4 million.

Swisher said it was exploring its options in fighting the verdict.

“We strongly disagree with the verdict,” said Joe Augustus, senior vice president of global affairs for Swisher. “We are considering all our options, including appeal.”

Jensen covers logistics, trade manufacturing and defense.

8 comments ↓

#1 OTP Kid on 04.13.16 at 11:56 AM

Why is no one reporting on this in the industry??? This is big news!

Let’s see: put competitor in business, competitor succeeds, stop selling competitor, lose mulit-million dollar lawsuit. Sounds like a few heads should roll at Swisher

#2 Ernie on 04.14.16 at 7:15 PM

I am amazed that I had not heard about this story. What’s going on. Isn’t news, news? Talked to a colleague today and the comment was the Swisher sales folks are pissed. So what. Weird!

#3 Jersey boy on 04.14.16 at 7:27 PM

Wow I hadn’t heard this either. I know Swisher is pretty significant. But I looked at some of the tobacco reporting magazines and nothing. Must be tied to advertising dollars.

#4 OTP Kid on 04.15.16 at 10:07 AM

Jersey Boy: totally tied to advertising dollars! Where’s big ole’ CSP on this, or Tom Briant for that matter.

#5 High flyer on 04.22.16 at 6:41 AM

Seriously I don’t get the non coverage.

#6 Tobacco Guy on 05.03.16 at 10:15 AM

This could be the straw that breaks Swisher’s back. For a company that wanted to sell at “Middleton prices”…, that all just may change now.

#7 Eli on 05.22.16 at 11:03 PM

Interesting story. The tobacco industry seems to have a lot of strong arm tactics. Is there a cover up on this issue or do folks just not care?

#8 Lou on 11.20.16 at 1:12 AM

Cigar Manufacturer Knocks Out $44M Antitrust Judgment
Federal Court Finds Swisher Did Not Violate Antitrust Law

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (November 2016) – After more than seven months of post-trial proceedings, Jacksonville -based cigar manufacturer Swisher International, Inc., secured a court order reversing a $44 million judgment entered against it in a California federal court. The judgment was based upon a verdict by a California jury finding Swisher liable for breach of contract and violating federal antitrust laws.

Throughout the lawsuit, brought against Swisher by a former private label customer for which Swisher manufactured cigars, Swisher maintained that plaintiff’s claims and evidence could not give rise to antitrust liability under federal law. In a November 9, 2016 order, District Court Judge James Selna agreed. The Judge directed judgment in Swisher’s favor with respect to the plaintiff’s antitrust claims, finding that the plaintiff could not establish antitrust liability on Swisher’s part as a matter of law. The court also agreed with Swisher’s argument that the jury, in reaching its finding of antitrust liability, had not been properly instructed on antitrust law. The court’s ruling disposes of the antitrust claims at the trial court level.

About Swisher International
Jacksonville, Fla.-based Swisher International has manufactured quality tobacco products since 1861.

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