Airbus and B/E Aerospace Sued for Cancelled Distribution Agreement
Leki Aviation has sued B/E Aerospace, Airbus SAS and Satair A/S. The suit, filed in state court in Manhattan, claims that the defendants committed various torts in connection with a product distribution agreement between B/E and Leki. The suit alleges that the B/E fraudulently induced Leki to enter into the contract and that Airbus and Satay tortuously interfered with the $250 million dollar agreement.
Denmark-based Leki is a worldwide distributor of aircraft parts, interiors and components. B/E is the worldwide leading manufacturer of aircraft passenger cabin interior products for commercial and business jets. Airbus is one of the largest manufacturers of aircraft in the world.
The suit claims that Leki had previously been the distributor for parts supplied by B/E’s predecessor. But when B/E acquired the business from the predecessor, it replaced Leki with Satair. Some time after that, Satair became a wholly owned subsidiary of Airbus.
After Leki learned of the Airbus/Satair acquisition, it asked B/E about the possibility of reacquiring the product distributorship. B/E allegedly represented to Leki that, because of the Airbus/Satair acquisition, B/E would not continue to utilize Satair as its product distributor. This intent to end the Satair distribution, Leki claims, was repeated several times and, more importantly, was false.
B/E and Leki then entered into negotiations, which led to a new five year Distribution Agreement, with a claimed value to Leki of over 250 million dollars. The contract appointed Leki as B/E’s exclusive worldwide distributor of its oxygen system products. The suit claims that Leki’s new agreement with B/E contained a deeper product discount than that provided by Satair in its previous contract with B/E.
Leki claims that, as a result of B/E’s representations (about its ending its relationship with Satair) it was “wrongfully induced to proceed with the extended process of qualifying for the B/E distribution agreement and then entering into the Distribution Agreement”.
Leki and B/E began implementing the new agreement but, in May 2012, B/E notified Leki that it was withdrawing from the Distributorship Agreement.
The suit claims that Airbus, after learning that B/E was not renewing its distribution agreement with Satair (Airbus’ subsidiary), induced B/E into withdrawing from its new agreement with Leki. It claims that B/E went back to Satair, showed it the more favorable terms it had negotiated with Leki, which then caused Satair to enter into an agreement with even better terms.
Leki claims that B/E fraudulently induced it into entering into the Distribution Agreement. In other words, it claims that B/E never had any intent to honor the contract, but instead intended only to use the terms it negotiated with Leki to obtain even more favorable terms from Satai. B/E, Leki claims, made these statements with knowledge that they were false and with the intent to deceive Leki into entering into an agreement with a lower discount rate, that B/E could then use to negotiate an even lower rate from Satair.
Leki also alleges breach of the agreement. Additionally, it claims that Airbus wrongfully/tortuously interfered with the Distribution Agreement.
Leki requests an award of compensatory and punitive damages.
As of today, the Defendants have not answered the suit.