Historic City News learned from recent court documents that Australian candy brand, Yowie North America, Inc, lost its attempt to obtain an injunction allowing the removal of a candy wrapping machine from a factory leased by Whetstone to Yowie for the next ten years.
Yowie first sought a temporary injunction against Whetstone Chocolate Factory, Inc. and Atlantic Candy Company to get back a one-of-a-kind special wrapping machine. The machine was purchased by Yowie and placed in Whetstone’s St. Augustine factory under a 10-year manufacturing agreement set to expire at the end of 2025.
Yowie CEO Wayne Loxton traveled from Australia along with lawyers from Nebraska to testify at hearings in in the chambers of Judge Richard Maltz in St. Johns County.
Despite having a ten-year manufacturing agreement in effect with Whetstone, Loxton testified that Yowie decided to cease production at Whetstone in favor of a lower price offered by New York based Madelaine Chocolate Company.
Loxton testified that the current manufacturing capacity at Madelaine with one wrapping machine is 18 million pieces per year. The Madelaine factory is not expected to be in production until the end of March. The Whetstone factory can also produce 18 million units per year.
In a preliminary hearing, Judge Howard Maltz noted that while Yowie may face “business inconvenience”, he ruled that Yowie failed to demonstrate that they would suffer “irreparable harm”. On Friday February 26 the Judge found that the 10-year manufacturing agreement was in breach and therefore terminated. While not naming a specific party or action in his order, the only testimony offered in court was Mr. Whetstone’s assertion that Yowie had breached the agreement.
Yowie asserted that it owned the wrapping machine and therefore entitled to replevin (repossess) the machine pursuant to Florida Statute 78.068. In a letter filed by Yowie attorneys as part of their suit, Mr. Whetstone asserted that Yowie owed Whetstone $121,841 in unpaid 2014 and 2015 invoices and $6,990,360 over the next 10 years.
An order issued Monday March 7 required Yowie to post a $900,000 bond prior to removing the disputed wrapping machine from Whetstone’s factory. Whetstone then posted a $562,500 bond to stay the order and keep the machine until the conclusion of pending litigation.
Whetstone has produced the Yowie product since 2013 without manufacturing or delivery complaint. It is available nationwide at Walmart, including the local St. Augustine store.