Charlie Trotter's sued for selling fake DRC

Tasting notes, varietals, grapes - anything related to wine
User avatar
Roberto Rogness
 
Posts: 18556
Joined: February 10th 2009, 11:16am
Location: Santa Monica, Rio de Janeiro

Charlie Trotter's sued for selling fake DRC

Post #1  Postby Roberto Rogness » June 13th 2013, 2:07pm

Can someone who knows how to pull court documents post this? I have a large PDF thanks to Richard Burton (@rfburton) but I don't know how to get that up here.


Case: 1:13-cv-04376 Document #: 1 Filed: 06/13/13 Page 1 of 13 PageID #:1
BEKIM FRROKAJ and ILIR FRROKAJ,
Plaintiffs,
v.
CHT CORP. d/b/a/ CHARLIE TROTTER’S and CHARLES H. TROTTER,
Defendants.
No. TRIAL BY JURY DEMANDED
COMPLAINT
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF ILLINOIS EASTERN DIVISION
Plaintiffs, Bekim Frrokaj and Ilir Frrokaj, by their undersigned attorneys, for their Complaint against Defendants, allege as follows:
NATURE OF THE CASE
1. This is an action for breach of contract, breach of warranty, and deceptive practices under the Illinois Consumer Fraud Act arising from Defendants’ sale of a counterfeit bottle of wine, which Defendants had misrepresented as a 1945 Domaine de la Romanee-Conti magnum (“DRC magnum”), to Plaintiffs.
ITB Retail
É prohibido prohibir!

Advertisement

User avatar
Kirk.Grant
 
Posts: 834
Joined: May 27th 2012, 1:29pm
Location: Bangor, Maine

Charlie Trotter's sued for selling fake DRC

Post #2  Postby Kirk.Grant » June 13th 2013, 2:13pm

Wow...that might suck.
"I don't drink much unless
User avatar
Roberto Rogness
 
Posts: 18556
Joined: February 10th 2009, 11:16am
Location: Santa Monica, Rio de Janeiro

Charlie Trotter's sued for selling fake DRC

Post #3  Postby Roberto Rogness » June 13th 2013, 2:14pm

No mention of Rudy in the complaint but it just got filed...
ITB Retail
É prohibido prohibir!
User avatar
David K o l i n
SubscriberSubscriber
Born Under Punches
 
Posts: 8731
Joined: June 2nd 2009, 5:29pm
Location: ChiIl

Charlie Trotter's sued for selling fake DRC

Post #4  Postby David K o l i n » June 13th 2013, 2:36pm

Interesting. Not sure how the plaintiffs would know at this point how Trotter sourced the bottle. Can you tell what court this was filed in, Roberto?
ITB through 1982

"The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in the insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well meaning but without understanding." - Louis Brandeis

"A great point if it were true!" - Dana Perino
User avatar
Roberto Rogness
 
Posts: 18556
Joined: February 10th 2009, 11:16am
Location: Santa Monica, Rio de Janeiro

Charlie Trotter's sued for selling fake DRC

Post #5  Postby Roberto Rogness » June 13th 2013, 2:36pm

It's in the post above:

THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF ILLINOIS EASTERN DIVISION
ITB Retail
É prohibido prohibir!
User avatar
David K o l i n
SubscriberSubscriber
Born Under Punches
 
Posts: 8731
Joined: June 2nd 2009, 5:29pm
Location: ChiIl

Charlie Trotter's sued for selling fake DRC

Post #6  Postby David K o l i n » June 13th 2013, 2:54pm

Looks like Maureen Downey provided the plaintiff with the analysis.

Other interesing tidbits (per the complaint):

- sold at the restaurant and shipped to the plaintiffs in NYC. AdV confirmed that there were no large format bottles produced in 1945 because of small yields
- plaintiffs paid $46K for the mag, $40K in cash and $6K on credit card
Last edited by David K o l i n on June 13th 2013, 2:59pm, edited 1 time in total.
ITB through 1982

"The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in the insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well meaning but without understanding." - Louis Brandeis

"A great point if it were true!" - Dana Perino
User avatar
scott c
SubscriberSubscriber
 
Posts: 1425
Joined: December 29th 2009, 10:26am
Location: Washington, DC

Charlie Trotter's sued for selling fake DRC

Post #7  Postby scott c » June 13th 2013, 2:54pm

[edited to remove what David said right before me]
c 1 @ f f e e

"By serving the best, never the most, a host compliments both himself and guest, and compensates with additional enjoyment what he wisely limits in number of drinks."
-Julian P. ("Pappy") Van Winkle, Sr.


Terroirist.com
User avatar
David Glasser
SubscriberSubscriber
 
Posts: 1140
Joined: August 16th 2009, 6:03pm
Location: Maryland

Charlie Trotter's sued for selling fake DRC

Post #8  Postby David Glasser » June 13th 2013, 2:56pm

David K o l i n wrote:Interesting. Not sure how the plaintiffs would know at this point how Trotter sourced the bottle. Can you tell what court this was filed in, Roberto?


Even if the bottle has clear evidence of incorrect labeling, cork, glass or capsule, proving that it was fake at this late date might be a pretty tough bar to clear. Chain of custody type arguments come immediately to mind. But if the plaintiffs can do that, it may not matter whether they can demonstrate where Trotter sourced it.
User avatar
scott c
SubscriberSubscriber
 
Posts: 1425
Joined: December 29th 2009, 10:26am
Location: Washington, DC

Charlie Trotter's sued for selling fake DRC

Post #9  Postby scott c » June 13th 2013, 3:02pm

David Glasser wrote:
David K o l i n wrote:Interesting. Not sure how the plaintiffs would know at this point how Trotter sourced the bottle. Can you tell what court this was filed in, Roberto?


Even if the bottle has clear evidence of incorrect labeling, cork, glass or capsule, proving that it was fake at this late date might be a pretty tough bar to clear. Chain of custody type arguments come immediately to mind. But if the plaintiffs can do that, it may not matter whether they can demonstrate where Trotter sourced it.


The Domaine confirmed that they never bottled any magnums in 1945. That's pretty much all you need to know to confirm it is fake.

Worth noting: 1945 DRC is the wine that caused the controversy at the "Top 100 Wines of the Century" event organized by John Kapon in October 2005, but I can't recall or find whether it was served from mag.
c 1 @ f f e e

"By serving the best, never the most, a host compliments both himself and guest, and compensates with additional enjoyment what he wisely limits in number of drinks."
-Julian P. ("Pappy") Van Winkle, Sr.


Terroirist.com
User avatar
AndrewH
 
Posts: 675
Joined: May 14th 2010, 1:34pm

Charlie Trotter's sued for selling fake DRC

Post #10  Postby AndrewH » June 13th 2013, 3:14pm

This is bizarre. Did Trotter refuse to give them their money back?
Andrew H e i m e r t
User avatar
Craig G
SubscriberSubscriber
 
Posts: 4850
Joined: March 6th 2011, 11:57am

Charlie Trotter's sued for selling fake DRC

Post #11  Postby Craig G » June 13th 2013, 3:16pm

I rarely carry more than $40k in cash too.
C. Gle@son
User avatar
David K o l i n
SubscriberSubscriber
Born Under Punches
 
Posts: 8731
Joined: June 2nd 2009, 5:29pm
Location: ChiIl

Charlie Trotter's sued for selling fake DRC

Post #12  Postby David K o l i n » June 13th 2013, 3:21pm

scott c l a f f e e wrote:The Domaine confirmed that they never bottled any magnums in 1945. That's pretty much all you need to know to confirm it is fake.



I don't know, Scott. The complaint cited "Aubert de Villain"


Image
ITB through 1982

"The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in the insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well meaning but without understanding." - Louis Brandeis

"A great point if it were true!" - Dana Perino
User avatar
scott c
SubscriberSubscriber
 
Posts: 1425
Joined: December 29th 2009, 10:26am
Location: Washington, DC

Charlie Trotter's sued for selling fake DRC

Post #13  Postby scott c » June 13th 2013, 3:23pm

AndrewH wrote:This is bizarre. Did Trotter refuse to give them their money back?


Sounds like it. According to the Complaint, "Charlie Trotter's has refused to cancel the sale or to acknowledge Plaintiffs' revocation of acceptance [of the offer to sell the bottle, which formed the legal contract]."

Plaintiff sent a letter to Trotter's lawyer back in January, and presumably never heard back.
c 1 @ f f e e

"By serving the best, never the most, a host compliments both himself and guest, and compensates with additional enjoyment what he wisely limits in number of drinks."
-Julian P. ("Pappy") Van Winkle, Sr.


Terroirist.com
User avatar
scott c
SubscriberSubscriber
 
Posts: 1425
Joined: December 29th 2009, 10:26am
Location: Washington, DC

Charlie Trotter's sued for selling fake DRC

Post #14  Postby scott c » June 13th 2013, 3:24pm

David K o l i n wrote:
scott c l a f f e e wrote:The Domaine confirmed that they never bottled any magnums in 1945. That's pretty much all you need to know to confirm it is fake.



I don't know, Scott. The complaint cited "Aubert de Villain"


Image


LOL - as well as Mr. de Vellain! Not the most careful drafter, he.
c 1 @ f f e e

"By serving the best, never the most, a host compliments both himself and guest, and compensates with additional enjoyment what he wisely limits in number of drinks."
-Julian P. ("Pappy") Van Winkle, Sr.


Terroirist.com
User avatar
Todd F r e n c h
Site AdminSite Admin
Head Babysitter
 
Posts: 31152
Joined: January 27th 2009, 9:46am
Location: San Clemente, CA

Charlie Trotter's sued for selling fake DRC

Post #15  Postby Todd F r e n c h » June 13th 2013, 3:35pm

Craig Gleason wrote:I rarely carry more than $40k in cash too.

Hence the use of the credit card to make up the difference. Makes sense.
Apparently I'm lazy, have a narrow agenda, and offer little in the way of content and substance (RMP)
Nate Simon
 
Posts: 1205
Joined: September 17th 2009, 8:41pm

Charlie Trotter's sued for selling fake DRC

Post #16  Postby Nate Simon » June 13th 2013, 3:55pm

There is an old Latin saying: "caveat emptor."

Loosely translated, it means, "anyone who spends $46,000 bucks on a bottle of grape juice without doing some due diligence is a magna cum laude doucheknocker."
J. Ashourian
 
Posts: 294
Joined: June 3rd 2010, 1:37pm

Charlie Trotter's sued for selling fake DRC

Post #17  Postby J. Ashourian » June 13th 2013, 3:56pm

Craig Gleason wrote:I rarely carry more than $40k in cash too.




Hahahah!! Lol.
Justin
User avatar
Marc Hauser
SubscriberSubscriber
 
Posts: 252
Joined: March 11th 2011, 8:37pm
Location: Chicago

Charlie Trotter's sued for selling fake DRC

Post #18  Postby Marc Hauser » June 13th 2013, 3:57pm

Here's the complaint (apologies for the length):

IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF ILLINOIS
EASTERN DIVISION

BEKIM FRROKAJ and

ILIR FRROKAJ,

Plaintiffs,

v. No.

CHT CORP. d/b/a/ TRIAL BY JURY DEMANDED
CHARLIE TROTTER’S and
CHARLES H. TROTTER,

Defendants.

COMPLAINT

Plaintiffs, Bekim Frrokaj and Ilir Frrokaj, by their undersigned attorneys, for their Complaint against Defendants, allege as follows:
NATURE OF THE CASE
1. This is an action for breach of contract, breach of warranty, and deceptive practices under the Illinois Consumer Fraud Act arising from Defendants’ sale of a counterfeit bottle of wine, which Defendants had misrepresented as a 1945 Domaine de la Romanee-Conti magnum (“DRC magnum”), to Plaintiffs.


PARTIES
2. Plaintiff Bekim Frrokaj (“Benn”) resides in Bronx, New York.

3. Plaintiff Ilir Frrokaj (“Ilir”) resides in Bronx, New York.

4. Defendant CHT Corp. d/b/a Charlie Trotter’s (“Charlie Trotter’s”) is an Illinois corporation and maintains its principal place of business in Chicago, Illinois.

5. Defendant Charles H. Trotter (“Mr. Trotter”) resides in Chicago, Illinois.



JURISDICTION AND VENUE

6. This Court has subject matter jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1332 because Plaintiffs and Defendants are citizens of different states and the amount in controversy exceeds $75,000, exclusive of interests and costs.

7. This Court has subject matter jurisdiction over the related Illinois state law claims, which have an amount in controversy less than $75,000, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1367 because those claims arise out of the same transactions and occurrences that give rise to Plaintiffs’ federal claim.

8. Venue is proper in this district under 28 U.S.C. § 1391 because both Defendants reside in this District.


DEMAND FOR JURY TRIAL
9. Pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 38(b), Stavropoulos requests a trial by jury on the claims so triable.


FACTUAL ALLEGATIONS

10. Defendants operated “one of the finest restaurants in the world” – Charlie Trotter’s. Mr. Trotter was the head chef and owner of Charlie Trotter’s. Mr. Trotter has been given numerous awards, including a yearly “Grand Award” from Wine Spectator from 1993 to the present. Defendants have significant experience and expertise in selecting and selling some of the finest wines in the world.

11. Defendants operate a website where they advertise the wines Charlie Trotter’s offered prior to closing. Defendants’ website provides:


Wine
Charlie Trotter's wine list has received the Wine Spectator's coveted Grand Award and the James Beard Foundation's Outstanding Wine Service Award. This list is created with Charlie's
culinary philosophy in mind - that food and wine are intended not only to complement each other, but to inspire one another, making the selection and interplay of the wine and food an integral part of the dining experience.
In addition to housing the classic food wines from Burgundy and Bordeaux, Charlie Trotter's offers the connoisseur a great selection of wine from Rhone, Alsace, and Champagne. The cellar also has great breadth in Californian, Australian and German wines.
. . .
With over 1,800 selections to choose from, our wine list offers a great selection and breadth from practically every wine producing country including the United States, Italy, Austria, Spain, Australia, New Zealand, Portugal, Hungary, and South Africa. The wine program offers a great selection of wines by the glass that changes frequently to accommodate each evening's menu.
. . .
Our wine list provides choices to complement our cuisine, in all ranges. The strong sections of the list include Burgundy, Bordeaux and California, as well as other major regions of the world. It balances between the great vintages of classic regions, to unknown, small-production wineries, sure to be future stars. Each section of the wine list is introduced by a short description of the general characteristics of the wines it contains such as regions, grape varietals and producers.
Some of the highlights of our wine program include:
· 20 vintages of Penfolds " Grange " dating back to 1960, plus 6 vintages in Magnums
· 12 vintages of Grace Family Vineyards Cabernet
· 48 selections of Angelo Gaja, in various sized formats
· 24 selections of single vineyard Cote-Rotie from Guigal
· Vertical of Chateau Mouton-Rothschild from 1945 to 2003
· 23 selections of Henri Jayer including 8 vintages of Echezeaux starting in 1982
· Over 48 selections from Domaine Leroy including the 1949 Musigny
· Over 130 selections in large formats including 12 vintages of La Jota Imperials starting in 1982, 9 Double Magnums of Angelo Gaja's Barbarescos and an Imperial of 1990 Penfolds " Grange " which is only 1 of 5 Imperials of Grange ever made.
12. On or about June 2012, Benn contacted Charlie Trotter’s. Benn informed the Charlie Trotter’s employee with whom he spoke that he wanted to add a DRC magnum to his family’s wine collection. Benn had learned about Charlie Trotter’s wine collection through the advertising on Defendants’ website. The employee informed Benn that he should make a reservation and that he could discuss purchasing the DRC magnum over dinner.

13. On June 15, 2012, Benn and Ilir went to Charlie Trotter’s. During dinner, Charlie Trotter and the sommelier explained the rarity and value of the DRC magnum to Benn and Ilir. Charlie Trotter and the sommelier also spoke about wines from the Domaine de la Romanee-Conti estate and how those wines are some of the rarest and most valuable in the world. A Charlie Trotter’s employee negotiated the price – $46,227.40 – with Benn and Ilir. Based on Defendants’ representation of the rarity and value of the DRC magnum, Benn and Ilir agreed to purchase it. Ben and Ilir paid Charlie Trotter’s $40,000 in cash and $6,227.40 by credit card for the DRC magnum.

14. On June 17, 2012, Defendants shipped the DRC magnum to Benn’ New York residence.

15. Upon receiving the DRC magnum, Benn contacted his insurance carrier. He notified the carrier that he wanted to list the DRC magnum on his homeowners insurance. Benn’s carrier informed Benn that 1945 bottles of Domaine de la Romanee-Conti are often counterfeited and that Benn would need to authenticate the DRC magnum through an expert before it would provide coverage.


16. On or about September, 2012, Benn retained Maureen Downey, DWS, CWE, FWS of Chai Consulting to authenticate the DRC magnum. Ms. Downey determined that the DRC magnum was counterfeit and valueless. See Exhibit 1. Ms. Downey later visited the estate of Domaine de la Romanee-Conti. During her visit, she showed her inspection report to Aubert de Villain, the co-owner of Domaine de la Romanee-Conti. Mr. de Vellain confirmed that Ms. Downey’s report was correct and that the DRC magnum was counterfeit because Domaine de la Romanee-Conti only produced small yields in 1945 and as a result did not produce any large-format magnum-size bottles in that vintage.


Count I: Violation of the Illinois Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Practices Act
(Charlie Trotter’s)

17. Plaintiffs reallege Paragraphs 1-16.

18. At all relevant times, there was in full force and effect in the State of Illinois a statute commonly known as the Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act, 815 ILCS § 505/2, which provides in pertinent part as follows:


Unfair methods of competition and unfair or deceptive acts or practices, including but not limited to the use or employment of any deception, fraud, false pretense, false promise, misrepresentation or the concealment, suppression or omission of any material fact, with intent that others rely upon the concealment, suppression or omission of such material fact, or the use or employment of any practice described in Section 2 of the “Uniform Deceptive Trade Practices Act”, approved August 5, 1965, in the conduct of any trade or commerce are hereby declared unlawful whether any person has in fact been misled, deceived or damaged thereby.

19. The Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act further provides [815 ILCS 505/10(a)]:


Any person who suffers actual damages as a result of a violation of this Act committed by any other person may bring an action against such person. The court, in its discretion may award actual economic damages or any other relief which the court deems proper.

20. Plaintiffs are consumers within the meaning of the Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act [815 ILCS 505/1(e)].

21. Selling a bottle of DRC magnum, as alleged, constitutes trade or commerce as defined by the Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act [815 ILCS 505/1(f)].

22. Charlie Trotter’s misrepresented that the DRC magnum was authentic, though Charlie Trotter’s was aware or should have been aware the DRC magnum was a counterfeit, based on the experience and expertise of its owner and sommeliers.

23. Charlie Trotter’s omitted to disclose the material fact that the DRC magnum was counterfeit.

24. Charlie Trotter’s misrepresentations and omissions were material in that a reasonable consumer would have relied upon them in making the decision to purchase the DRC magnum.

25. Charlie Trotter’s omitted to disclose material facts regarding the lack of authenticity of the DRC magnum it sold to Plaintiffs knowing that Plaintiffs would rely on that ommission in purchasing the DRC magnum.

26. As a direct and proximate result of Charlie Trotter’s consumer fraud alleged herein, Plaintiffs suffered damages including the purchase price of the DRC magnum, the cost of air travel to Chicago to purchase the DRC magnum, and the cost of expert fees.

27. Charlie Trotter’s misrepresentations and omissions of material fact alleged herein were willful and wanton, thus allowing for a punitive damage award in excess of $30,000.


WHEREFORE, Plaintiffs, Bekim Frrokaj and Ilir Frrokaj, request that this Court enter judgment in their favor and against Defendant, CHT Corp. d/b/a Charlie Trotter’s, as follows:
A. Award Plaintiffs actual damages of $46,227.40, representing the cost of the DRC magnum;

B. Award Plaintiffs the cost of travel expenses to Chicago to purchase the wine;

C. Award Plaintiffs the cost of expert fees incurred to authenticate the wine;

D. Award Plaintiffs punitive damages in excess of $30,000;

E. Award Plaintiffs expenses of litigation, including attorneys’ fees and costs; and

F. Grant Plaintiffs any other relief that the Court deems just.


Count I: Violation of the Illinois Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Practices Act
(Charlie Trotter)

28. Plaintiffs reallege Paragraphs 1-27.

29. At all relevant times, there was in full force and effect in the State of Illinois a statute commonly known as the Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act, 815 ILCS § 505/2, which provides in pertinent part as follows:


Unfair methods of competition and unfair or deceptive acts or practices, including but not limited to the use or employment of any deception, fraud, false pretense, false promise, misrepresentation or the concealment, suppression or omission of any material fact, with intent that others rely upon the concealment, suppression or omission of such material fact, or the use or employment of any practice described in Section 2 of the “Uniform Deceptive Trade Practices Act”, approved August 5, 1965, in the conduct of any trade or commerce are hereby declared unlawful whether any person has in fact been misled, deceived or damaged thereby.

30. The Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act further provides [815 ILCS 505/10(a)]:


Any person who suffers actual damages as a result of a violation of this Act committed by any other person may bring an action against such person. The court, in its discretion may award actual economic damages or any other relief which the court deems proper.

31. Plaintiffs are consumers within the meaning of the Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act [815 ILCS 505/1(e)].

32. Selling a bottle of DRC magnum, as alleged, constitutes trade or commerce as defined by the Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act [815 ILCS 505/1(f)].

33. Charlie Trotter misrepresented that the DRC magnum was authentic, though Charlie Trotter was aware or should have been aware the DRC magnum was a counterfeit, based on his experience and expertise.

34. Charlie Trotter omitted to disclose the material fact that the DRC magnum was counterfeit.

35. Charlie Trotter’s misrepresentations and omissions were material in that a reasonable consumer would have relied upon them in making the decision to purchase the DRC magnum.

36. Charlie Trotter omitted to disclose material facts regarding the lack of authenticity of the DRC magnum it sold to Plaintiffs knowing that Plaintiffs would rely on that omission in purchasing the DRC magnum.

37. As a direct and proximate result of Charlie Trotter’s consumer fraud alleged herein, Plaintiffs suffered damages including the purchase price of the DRC magnum, the cost of air travel to Chicago to purchase the DRC magnum, and the cost of expert fees.

38. Charlie Trotter’s misrepresentations and omissions of material fact alleged herein were willful and wanton, thus allowing for a punitive damage award in excess of $30,000.


WHEREFORE, Plaintiffs, Bekim Frrokaj and Ilir Frrokaj, request that this Court enter judgment in their favor and against Defendant, Charlie Trotter, as follows:
A. Award Plaintiffs actual damages of $46,227.40, representing the cost of the DRC magnum;

B. Award Plaintiffs the cost of travel expenses to Chicago to purchase the wine;

C. Award Plaintiffs the cost of expert fees incurred to authenticate the wine;

D. Award Plaintiffs punitive damages in excess of $30,000;

E. Award Plaintiffs expenses of litigation, including attorneys’ fees and costs; and

F. Grant Plaintiffs any other relief that the Court deems just.


Count III: Breach of Contract
39. Plaintiffs reallege Paragraphs 1-38.

40. On June 15, 2012, Plaintiffs made an offer to Charlie Trotter’s to purchase the DRC magnum for $46,227.40.

41. On June 15, 2012, Charlie Trotter’s accepted Plaintiffs’ offer and sold the DRC magnum to Plaintiffs for $46,227.40.

42. On June 15, 2012, Plaintiffs paid $46,227.40 to Charlie Trotter’s for the DRC magnum. Plaintiffs paid a portion of the purchase price – $40,000 – in cash and the remainder – $6,227.40 – by credit card.

43. On June 17, 2012, Charlie Trotter’s shipped the DRC magnum to Plaintiffs’ New York residence.

44. Charlie Trotter’s breached the contract with Plaintiffs because it did not provide Plaintiffs with an authentic DRC magnum. See Exhibit 1.

45. On or about January 29, 2013, Plaintiffs notified Charlie Trotter’s of its breach of contract. See Exhibit 2.

46. Charlie Trotter’s has not remedied its breach of contract.


47. As a direct and proximate result of Charlie Trotter’s breaches of the contract alleged herein, Plaintiffs suffered damages including the purchase price of the DRC magnum, the cost of air travel to Chicago to purchase the DRC magnum, and the cost of expert fees.


WHEREFORE, Plaintiffs, Bekim Frrokaj and Ilir Frrokaj, request that this Court enter judgment in their favor and against Defendant, CHT Corp. d/b/a Charlie Trotter’s, as follows:
A. Award Plaintiffs actual damages of $46,227.40, representing the cost of the DRC magnum;

B. Award Plaintiffs the cost of travel expenses to Chicago to purchase the wine;

C. Award Plaintiffs the cost of expert fees incurred to authenticate the wine;

D. Award Plaintiffs expenses of litigation, including attorneys’ fees and costs; and

E. Grant Plaintiffs any other relief that the Court deems just.


Count IV: Breach of Implied Warranty in Violation of the Magnusson Moss Act
48. Plaintiffs reallege Paragraphs 1-47.

49. Charlie Trotter’s is a merchant of wine within the meaning of 810 ILCS 5/2-314(1) because Charlie Trotter’s has knowledge and skill peculiar to rare wines, including wines produced by the Domaine de la Romanee-Conti estate.

50. Charlie Trotter’s is a “warrantor” within the meaning of the Magnuson-Moss Act (“MMA”). 15 U.S.C. § 2301(5).

51. The DRC magnum is a “consumer product” within the meaning of the MMA because it is normally used for personal purposes and Plaintiffs purchased it wholly or primarily for personal use. 15 U.S.C. § 2301(1).

52. Plaintiffs are “consumers” as defined by the MMA. 15 U.S.C. § 2301(3).

53. On June 15, 2012, Charlie Trotter’s sold the DRC magnum to Plaintiffs.


54. As a part of the sale, Charlie Trotter’s employees made several claims regarding the DRC magnum. Those employees assured Plaintiffs that the DRC magnum was authentic. Those employees also assured Plaintiffs that the wine was rare and valuable because of its vintage and because Domaine de la Romanee-Conti did not produce a large yield in 1945.

55. An “implied warranty,” within the meaning of the MMA, arose by operation of law as part of the sale. 15 U.S.C. § 2301(7); 810 ILCS 5/2-314.

56. The DRC magnum was not merchantable at the time of sale within the meaning of 810 ILCS 5/2-314(2) because it is counterfeit. See Exhibit 1.

57. On or about January 29, 2013, Plaintiffs notified Charlie Trotter’s of its breach of warranty. See Exhibit 2.

58. Charlie Trotter’s breach of the implied warranty of merchantability constitutes a violation of 15 U.S.C. § 2310(d).

59. As a result of Charlie Trotter’s breach of the express and implied warranties, Plaintiffs have suffered economic losses and other general, consequential and specific damages, including but not limited to the amount paid to purchase the DRC magnum, the cost of air travel to Chicago, and the cost of expert fees incurred to authenticate the wine. Plaintiffs are also entitled to attorneys’ fees and costs under the MMA. 15 U.S.C. § 2310(d)(2).


WHEREFORE, Plaintiffs, Bekim Frrokaj and Ilir Frrokaj, request that this Court enter judgment in their favor and against Defendants, CHT Corp. d/b/a Charlie Trotter’s, as follows:
A. Award Plaintiffs actual damages of $46,227.40, representing the cost of the DRC magnum;

B. Award Plaintiffs the cost of travel expenses to Chicago to purchase the wine;

C. Award Plaintiffs the cost of expert fees incurred to authenticate the wine;


D. Award Plaintiffs expenses of litigation, including attorneys’ fees and costs; and

E. Grant Plaintiffs any other relief that the Court deems just.


Count V: the Magnusson Moss Act – Revocation of Acceptance
60. Plaintiffs reallege Paragraphs 1-59.

61. As detailed above, Charlie Trotter’s breached an implied warranty of merchantability.

62. Charlie Trotter’s breach, enumerated above, substantially impaired the DRC magnum’s value to Plaintiffs, who reasonably thought that Charlie Trotter’s breach could be cured, but Charlie Trotter’s are either unable or have refused to cure the breach.

63. Plaintiffs notified Charlie Trotter’s that Plaintiffs were revoking acceptance of the DRC magnum within a reasonable time after Plaintiffs discovered the grounds for it, and before any substantial change in the condition of the DRC magnum, which was not caused by its own defects.

64. Charlie Trotter’s has refused to cancel the sale or to acknowledge Plaintiffs’ revocation of acceptance.

65. Plaintiffs are entitled to revoke their acceptance of the DRC magnum and cancel the sales contract because the DRC magnum is counterfeit.

66. Plaintiffs are entitled to attorneys’ fees and costs under the MMA if they prevail in their request for equitable relief. 15 U.S.C. § 2310(d)(1), (2).


WHEREFORE, Plaintiffs, Bekim Frrokaj and Ilir Frrokaj, request that this Court enter judgment in their favor and against Defendants, CHT Corp. d/b/a Charlie Trotter’s, as follows:
A. Award Plaintiffs actual damages of $46,227.40, representing the cost of the DRC magnum;


B. Award Plaintiffs the cost of travel expenses to Chicago to purchase the wine;

C. Award Plaintiffs the cost of expert fees incurred to authenticate the wine;

D. Award Plaintiffs expenses of litigation, including attorneys’ fees and costs; and

E. Grant Plaintiffs any other relief that the Court deems just.



BEKIM FRROKAJ and ILIR FRROKAJ


By: /s/ John Auchter


Vincent L. DiTommaso
Peter S. Lubin
John Auchter
DITOMMASO . LUBIN, P.C. (35673)
17 W 220 22nd Street – Suite 410
Oakbrook Terrace, Illinois 60181
(630) 333-0000
User avatar
Scot Hasselman
SubscriberSubscriber
 
Posts: 380
Joined: April 2nd 2011, 12:19pm
Location: DC/Alexandria, VA

Charlie Trotter's sued for selling fake DRC

Post #19  Postby Scot Hasselman » June 13th 2013, 4:13pm

Nate Simon wrote:
Loosely translated, it means, "anyone who spends $46,000 bucks on a bottle of grape juice without doing some due diligence is a magna cum laude doucheknocker."


That's obvious, I would have gone full credit card for the points. But you are right, people who buy goods from a retail establishment in the business of selling that good deserve to get snookered. Why? Because they have money? Or just because?
User avatar
C Fu
ModeratorModerator
Domaine De La Husky
 
Posts: 18335
Joined: January 27th 2009, 2:26pm
Location: DTLA/Pasadena

Charlie Trotter's sued for selling fake DRC

Post #20  Postby C Fu » June 13th 2013, 4:14pm

Craig Gleason wrote:I rarely carry more than $40k in cash too.

goddamnit, another bill for over 40k?! I need to get a bigger bill fold
Ch@rlie Fu
User avatar
Roberto Rogness
 
Posts: 18556
Joined: February 10th 2009, 11:16am
Location: Santa Monica, Rio de Janeiro

Charlie Trotter's sued for selling fake DRC

Post #21  Postby Roberto Rogness » June 13th 2013, 4:16pm

The PDF I have also includes extensive documentation by Maureen including pictures with circles and arrows a paragraph on the front of each one...(apologies to Arlo).
Last edited by Roberto Rogness on June 13th 2013, 4:19pm, edited 2 times in total.
ITB Retail
É prohibido prohibir!
User avatar
C Fu
ModeratorModerator
Domaine De La Husky
 
Posts: 18335
Joined: January 27th 2009, 2:26pm
Location: DTLA/Pasadena

Charlie Trotter's sued for selling fake DRC

Post #22  Postby C Fu » June 13th 2013, 4:18pm

Seems to me the whole basis of this is saying that Charlie Trotter (himself) and his somm knew that is was fake when it was sold. Good luck proving that. Probably not even worth the potential litigation fees.

I do like that they are asking for travel expenses to Chicago.. even though they just went there to eat dinner not with the intent purpose to buy that wine.
Ch@rlie Fu
User avatar
alan weinberg
SubscriberSubscriber
 
Posts: 6011
Joined: April 25th 2009, 1:23pm

Charlie Trotter's sued for selling fake DRC

Post #23  Postby alan weinberg » June 13th 2013, 4:26pm

should have paid with a $40,000 bill.
alan
Eric Lundblad
 
Posts: 850
Joined: January 28th 2009, 3:36pm

Charlie Trotter's sued for selling fake DRC

Post #24  Postby Eric Lundblad » June 13th 2013, 4:51pm

Is this why I've been buckled up?
Ladd Cellars
User avatar
Matthew Brown
 
Posts: 3645
Joined: June 4th 2009, 10:03am
Location: Charlottesville, VA/ITB

Charlie Trotter's sued for selling fake DRC

Post #25  Postby Matthew Brown » June 13th 2013, 4:55pm

alan weinberg wrote:should have paid with a $40,000 bill.
alan


Ever get a paper cut from a $40K? Doesn't tickle......
Koala in the rain, no *-%s given
Blair Curtis
 
Posts: 261
Joined: April 27th 2010, 3:36pm

Charlie Trotter's sued for selling fake DRC

Post #26  Postby Blair Curtis » June 13th 2013, 5:00pm

Charlie Fu wrote:Seems to me the whole basis of this is saying that Charlie Trotter (himself) and his somm knew that is was fake when it was sold. Good luck proving that. Probably not even worth the potential litigation fees.

I do like that they are asking for travel expenses to Chicago.. even though they just went there to eat dinner not with the intent purpose to buy that wine.


Not as I read it. The complaint is that a merchant expert in the goods sold delivered a fake. No intent required, or knowledge on the part of the merchant that it was a fake. Most of the consumer protection statutes are based on the reliance a consumer places on expert merchants, and the merchant's better ability to absorb the loss from a sale of a bad product. The implied warranty of merchantability (as I understand it in other jurisdictions) typically does not require any proof that the merchant knew (or even ought to have known) the goods were unmerchantable. They protect consumers from latent defects.

Essentially, to use a different example, this is why wine merchants have to take back corked bottles.

Cheers,
Blair
User avatar
C Fu
ModeratorModerator
Domaine De La Husky
 
Posts: 18335
Joined: January 27th 2009, 2:26pm
Location: DTLA/Pasadena

Charlie Trotter's sued for selling fake DRC

Post #27  Postby C Fu » June 13th 2013, 5:17pm

Blair Curtis wrote:
Charlie Fu wrote:Seems to me the whole basis of this is saying that Charlie Trotter (himself) and his somm knew that is was fake when it was sold. Good luck proving that. Probably not even worth the potential litigation fees.

I do like that they are asking for travel expenses to Chicago.. even though they just went there to eat dinner not with the intent purpose to buy that wine.


Not as I read it. The complaint is that a merchant expert in the goods sold delivered a fake. No intent required, or knowledge on the part of the merchant that it was a fake. Most of the consumer protection statutes are based on the reliance a consumer places on expert merchants, and the merchant's better ability to absorb the loss from a sale of a bad product. The implied warranty of merchantability (as I understand it in other jurisdictions) typically does not require any proof that the merchant knew (or even ought to have known) the goods were unmerchantable. They protect consumers from latent defects.

Essentially, to use a different example, this is why wine merchants have to take back corked bottles.

Cheers,
Blair


plenty of merchants refuse to take back corked bottles. I'm sure many on this board would love to have some sort of statute/case law to back them up when they seek returns.

Also
Unfair methods of competition and unfair or deceptive acts or practices, including but not limited to the use or employment of any deception, fraud, false pretense, false promise, misrepresentation or the concealment, suppression or omission of any material fact, with intent that others rely upon the concealment, suppression or omission of such material fact, or the use or employment of any practice described in Section 2 of the “Uniform Deceptive Trade Practices Act”, approved August 5, 1965, in the conduct of any trade or commerce are hereby declared unlawful whether any person has in fact been misled, deceived or damaged thereby.


I don't deal with contracts in my day to day business but my reading of this seems to mean that intent is necessary.
Ch@rlie Fu
Blair Curtis
 
Posts: 261
Joined: April 27th 2010, 3:36pm

Charlie Trotter's sued for selling fake DRC

Post #28  Postby Blair Curtis » June 13th 2013, 5:37pm

Charlie Fu wrote:
Blair Curtis wrote:
Charlie Fu wrote:Seems to me the whole basis of this is saying that Charlie Trotter (himself) and his somm knew that is was fake when it was sold. Good luck proving that. Probably not even worth the potential litigation fees.

I do like that they are asking for travel expenses to Chicago.. even though they just went there to eat dinner not with the intent purpose to buy that wine.


Not as I read it. The complaint is that a merchant expert in the goods sold delivered a fake. No intent required, or knowledge on the part of the merchant that it was a fake. Most of the consumer protection statutes are based on the reliance a consumer places on expert merchants, and the merchant's better ability to absorb the loss from a sale of a bad product. The implied warranty of merchantability (as I understand it in other jurisdictions) typically does not require any proof that the merchant knew (or even ought to have known) the goods were unmerchantable. They protect consumers from latent defects.

Essentially, to use a different example, this is why wine merchants have to take back corked bottles.

Cheers,
Blair


plenty of merchants refuse to take back corked bottles. I'm sure many on this board would love to have some sort of statute/case law to back them up when they seek returns.

Also
Unfair methods of competition and unfair or deceptive acts or practices, including but not limited to the use or employment of any deception, fraud, false pretense, false promise, misrepresentation or the concealment, suppression or omission of any material fact, with intent that others rely upon the concealment, suppression or omission of such material fact, or the use or employment of any practice described in Section 2 of the “Uniform Deceptive Trade Practices Act”, approved August 5, 1965, in the conduct of any trade or commerce are hereby declared unlawful whether any person has in fact been misled, deceived or damaged thereby.


I don't deal with contracts in my day to day business but my reading of this seems to mean that intent is necessary.


Hi Charlie,

Many merchants try to get away with whatever they can [shock.gif] . But many jurisdictions have consumer protection statutes that would cover latent defects like corked bottles. Maybe not every jurisdiction, but many. It might also be possible in some jurisdictions to vary the "implied" terms by express contract or disclaimer in a given sales transaction (ie. customer expressly agrees that goods are bought/sold "as is" without any warranty...yada yada....)

You are referring to the earlier counts in the claim, whereas I was referring to alternative counts IV and V, which are based on merchantability and should not require proof of the merchant's knowledge or intent.

Cheers,
Blair
gwagner
 
Posts: 209
Joined: January 21st 2013, 11:22am

Charlie Trotter's sued for selling fake DRC

Post #29  Postby gwagner » June 13th 2013, 6:46pm

Why don't we get a group of 8 of us to take a trip to Burgundy, and setup a vist with DRC. It would be nice to let them know about the Berserker community, and we can get a full explanation of the 1945 vintage from them. Whaddaya say Todd? You can pull it off for next spring. Who's in?
Gerald
User avatar
Ken V
SubscriberSubscriber
Fine Wine Geek
 
Posts: 30959
Joined: January 27th 2009, 1:42pm
Location: Delmar, NY

Charlie Trotter's sued for selling fake DRC

Post #30  Postby Ken V » June 13th 2013, 7:26pm

Who in the Bronx has that kind of money? [scratch.gif]
Ken V @ s t o l @
The Fine Wine Geek
Click on the W W W button under my name to see my website.
"Don't be meek, embrace the geek." -Terry Theise
Twitter: @FineWineGeek
User avatar
Keith Levenberg
 
Posts: 4605
Joined: June 6th 2009, 3:11pm
Location: Washington, D.C.

Charlie Trotter's sued for selling fake DRC

Post #31  Postby Keith Levenberg » June 13th 2013, 7:56pm

Is anyone else absolutely in love with the phrase "a bottle of DRC magnum"?
It is the traditional and typical of glorious counterfeit history and cultural.
Siun o'Connell
 
Posts: 76
Joined: June 4th 2012, 9:02am

Charlie Trotter's sued for selling fake DRC

Post #32  Postby Siun o'Connell » June 13th 2013, 8:20pm

As one of the rare non-lawyers here ... does Trotters' closing down his operation have any impact on this?

And btw, what ever happened to the big theft of Trotter's wine when he was trying to auction everything off?

Edited to add: The Chicago Tribune quotes Trotter as saying:

When reached by phone, Trotter denied the allegations. He said he received a phone call a month after the purchase from one of the buyers, who asked for his money back.

“It was a disgruntled client who probably paid a lot more money (for the bottle) than he’s ever paid before,” Trotter said. “It’s buyer’s remorse.”


http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/chi-charlie-trotter-sued-20130613,0,6911217.story

[popcorn.gif]
User avatar
John Danza
 
Posts: 797
Joined: December 4th 2009, 1:23pm
Location: Chicagoland

Charlie Trotter's sued for selling fake DRC

Post #33  Postby John Danza » June 13th 2013, 8:46pm

This is an interesting topic, which I'm not surprised at. I'm not referring to Trotter and team knowingly selling a counterfeit wine, which I'm sure they did not. I'm referring to the fact that they had one in their cellar. I wouldn't be surprised if that wasn't the only one.

The last time I went to Trotter's was about a year before they closed, at the request of another couple that wanted to go. After dinner, we did the obligatory tour of the wine cellar. While the others were getting things pointed out to them by one of the wine stewards, I hung back in a little corner that had nothing but magnums in the racks. Amongst them was an 1870 Lafite that at first glance looked like it was ok. However right next to it was a magnum of 1921 Petrus that had the look of a bottle that had been laying around for only a few years. It was clean, and the label didn't appear to have any molding or spotting on it, which you would expect from a label that was 90 years old. I don't have any information on whether or not Petrus bottled magnums in 1921.
John Danza
User avatar
Bill Klapp
SubscriberSubscriber
 
Posts: 3502
Joined: June 27th 2009, 12:50am
Location: Neive (CN), Italia

Charlie Trotter's sued for selling fake DRC

Post #34  Postby Bill Klapp » June 14th 2013, 12:20am

Uniform Commercial Code, Article 2 (Sale of Goods), as enacted in most states...
Nathan Smyth
 
Posts: 2162
Joined: February 15th 2009, 8:11pm

Charlie Trotter's sued for selling fake DRC

Post #35  Postby Nathan Smyth » June 14th 2013, 3:48am

Roberto Rogness wrote:BEKIM FRROKAJ and ILIR FRROKAJ

My amateur layman's armchair google-fu cursory research of the matter indicates that "FRROKAJ" might just be an Albanian name.

???

That's a strange twist to the story...

Return to Wine Talk