(a) If a winery violates any provision of this Article, a wholesaler may maintain a suit against the winery. The court may grant injunctive and other appropriate relief, including damages to compensate the wholesaler for the value of the agreement and any good will, to remedy violations of this Article.
(b) Any winery that amends, cancels, terminates, or refuses to renew any wine agreement, or causes a wholesaler to resign from an agreement shall compensate the wine wholesaler for the wine wholesaler's wine inventory. The amount of compensation shall include the F.O.B. costs of the wine inventory and any freight charges incurred by the wine wholesaler in receiving them.
(c) For any violation of the provisions of this Article, the Commission may take any of the following actions against the winery:
(1) Suspend the winery's permit for a specific period of time no longer than three years;
(2) Revoke the winery's permit;
(3) Issue an order suspending the shipment of the winery's products to one or more designated sales territories previously served by the wholesaler who has been terminated or who is the successor in interest to a wholesaler who sold the winery's products in the designated territory.
(4) Impose a monetary penalty up to fifteen thousand dollars ($15,000) for a first offense and up to thirty-five thousand ($35,000) for the second offense. The clear proceeds of monetary penalties imposed pursuant to this subdivision shall be remitted to the Civil Penalty and Forfeiture Fund in accordance with G.S. 115C-457.2.
In any case in which the Commission is entitled to suspend or revoke a permit, the Commission may accept from the winery an offer in compromise to pay a monetary penalty. The Commission may either accept a compromise or revoke a permit, but not both. The Commission may accept a compromise and suspend the permit in the same case.
(d) Notwithstanding the choice of forum agreed to by the parties, venue for all actions under this Article shall be determined by the trial judge based upon the convenience of witnesses and the promotion of the ends of justice. (1983, c. 85, s. 2; 1989, c. 800, ss. 16, 17; 1998-215, s. 28.)
Last modified: March 23, 2014