Ohio Supreme Court declines to hear Heidelberg family lawsuit

Ohio Supreme Court declines to hear Heidelberg family lawsuit

Friends toasting with beer.(Photo: tomorca, Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Ohio's highest court has declined to rule in the legal battle over control of Heidelberg Distributing Co., the region’s largest beer distributor.

The three-year court battle had been appealed twice, finally making its way to the Ohio Supreme Court, which declined to accept jurisdiction on Wednesday. The case stemmed from a battle between siblings, the co-owners of the company, over control of the company.

In December 2014, Albert Vontz III, co-owner of the nation’s 14th largest beer distribution company, filed a lawsuit against his sister Carol Miller, the other co-owner. The suit also named other members of Miller's immediate family, one of whom is the company’s chief legal officer.

Vontz's suit focused on his request for an annual meeting, in part so he could arrange for a transfer of his interest in the business. His suit claimed that the company has not held a shareholder meeting in more than a decade.

He also accused the Miller family of stacking the Heidelberg board with five family members, compared to just one member of the Vontz family.

The initial ruling by Hamilton Hamilton County Common Pleas Court Judge Steven Martin was in favor of Vontz. Martin filed an injunction, which required Miller and Vontz to both attend a shareholder meeting or be held in contempt of court.

Miller had repeatedly refused to attend meetings with Vontz, according to court documents.

In November 2015, a lawyer for Miller and other members of her family, filed notice of appeal to the Ohio First District Court of Appeals, prolonging the battle. In December 2016, the court of appeals ruled in favor of Vontz, but changed parts of the injunction.

Then Miller appealed that decision in March 2017. It took until Wednesday for Ohio Supreme Court to decide if it would take on the case. 

According to the company, it operates nine warehouse and office facilities located in Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, Dayton, Lorain, Toledo, Youngstown and northern Kentucky. The company has 1,600 associates, 18,00 products, 740 suppliers, two million square feet of warehouse and serves 26,000 retailers in Ohio and Kentucky.

The company was founded by Vontz and Miller's grandfather Albert W. Vontz, a 22-year-old German immigrant who arrived in Cincinnati in 1907, according to the company's website.

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Source : http://www.cincinnati.com/story/news/2017/10/12/ohio-supreme-court-declines-hear-heidelberg-family-lawsuit/758257001/

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