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Sharing The Joy Of The Nolan Victory…Plus A Note From One Of The Jurors!

Jim Prevor’s Perishable Pundit, June 4, 2009

We’ve been covering the issues in the dispute involving both Jim and Theresa Nolan and their company, The Nolan Network, with Ocean Spray for a long time.

Our recent pieces, Nolans Victorious In Lawsuit vs. Ocean Spray: This One’s For You, Jim and Nolan Triumph Example Of ‘Standing Up For What’s Right In Face Of Overwhelming Might’, continue to bring forth testimonials and commentary.

This note came from one of many people who interacted with the Nolans on a professional basis:

Thank you for that great article on the outcome of the Nolan/Ocean Spray trial. Theresa and Jim were always friends first and business associates second to me and everyone they had dealings with over the years.

We all shared in Theresa’s loss of Jim but can never and will never know how deep that loss really was and is to her. They were true soul mates.

We also share in the joy of the outcome of this trial but again, can never and will never know the true meaning of this outcome to Theresa. We can only hope and pray that she finds some sort of peace and closure to this difficult period in her life.

— Jeff Shilling
Vice President Procurement
RLB Food Distributors
West Caldwell, New Jersey

And this note was from a competitor of the Nolan’s who found inspiration in their battle:

Over the many years have I been in the industry, The Nolan Network was often in direct competition for accounts with the agencies I worked for — including my own!

However, I have always felt they were hard-working and honest folks, and our motto regarding competitors like that has always been “may the best man win.”

It was heartening to see that in a battle against a “Goliath” client, they prevailed because they stood up for what was right, questioned what they were told to do, and ultimately stuck to their guns. It gives any small company hope in these tough times.

Many thanks to the “Pundit” and keep up the good work!

— Veronica Kraushaar
VIVA Marketing Strategies
Nogales & Scottsdale, AZ

We also heard from a juror on the trial whose name we are withholding:

I was a juror on the Nolan Network v Ocean Spray trial and I was crying as I read your story. I am so happy I was part of this victory for Mrs. Nolan and her late husband Jim. God Bless.

We find it interesting that this case has attracted so much interest. Partly this is explained by Theresa and Jim’s longevity in the business and the nature of their business which led to contact with so many retailers, wholesalers, brokers, commodity boards and shippers.

Yet, we also think there is something more. We wrote recently that the nature of the business has been shifting and, instead of rewarding good work, it was increasingly rewarding a kind of craftiness at manipulation of retail rules. The yeoman farmer, who raises good fruit from the earth, seems not as likely to win as the wheeler-dealer who knows how to work the system.

It is still not 100% clear why Ocean Spray wanted to deviate from its fixed price list. It is a co-op, so one can’t even say that the personal profit motive was at stake. Fresh cranberries have often been on allocation, so it isn’t even clear that losing a customer would have done more than rearrange the volume. Apparently, and for whatever reason, someone thought it a terribly clever move.

Perhaps the outcry of support for the Nolans is another way of saying we need less cleverness in our industry and in our lives.

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