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HOUSE BILL NO. 615
INTRODUCED BY D. HARRINGTON, S. GALLUS, L. GRINDE, B. KEENAN, G. MATTHEWS, R. MENAHAN, B. PAVLOVICH, J. QUILICI, B. RYAN, S. STANG, C. YOUNKIN
AN ACT REVISING THE MANDATORY PROVISIONS IN AGREEMENTS BETWEEN BREWERS OR BEER IMPORTERS AND BEER WHOLESALERS AND BETWEEN TABLE WINE SUPPLIERS AND DISTRIBUTERS; AND AMENDING SECTIONS 16-3-222 AND 16-3-416, MCA.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MONTANA:
Section 1. Section 16-3-222, MCA, is amended to read:
"16-3-222. Mandatory provisions of brewer-wholesaler or beer importer-wholesaler contracts, agreements, and
franchises. All contracts, agreements, or franchises between a brewer and a wholesaler or a beer importer and a wholesaler
shall must specifically set forth or contain the following:
(1) that the brewer or beer importer or any officer, agent, or representative of any brewer or beer importer and the
wholesaler involved mutually shall determine the size or extent of the area in which the wholesaler may sell or distribute the
products of the brewer or beer importer to the retail licensees.
Said The territory will must be the territory agreed upon
between the wholesaler and brewer or the wholesaler and beer importer and may not be changed without the mutual consent
of both the wholesaler and brewer or the wholesaler and beer importer.
(2) the agreed-upon brands of the brewer or beer importer to be sold by the wholesaler;
(3) that the brewer or beer importer recognizes that the wholesaler is free to manage
his the wholesaler's business in the
manner that the wholesaler deems considers best and that this prerogative vests in the wholesaler the exclusive right to
establish selling prices, to select the brands he that the wholesaler wishes to handle, and to determine the effort and
resources that the wholesaler will exert to develop and promote the sale of the brewer's or beer importer's products handled
by the wholesaler;
(4) a procedure for the review of alleged wholesaler deficiencies, including the submission in writing to the wholesaler
by the brewer or beer importer of
said the deficiencies, if the deficiencies are susceptible of correction and if the wholesaler
desires to correct said the deficiencies, and that a reasonable period of time shall must be given the wholesaler for
rectification of said the deficiencies prior to any notice of intent to terminate;
(5) a termination clause providing that the brewer or beer importer shall deliver, in writing, to the wholesaler a 60-day notice of intent to terminate the agreement, contract, or franchise;
(6) that all agreements between a brewer and a wholesaler are interpreted and governed by the laws of Montana;
(7) that in any dispute resulting in litigation between a brewer or a beer importer and a wholesaler, the litigation must occur in a Montana court, either federal or state, unless that forum would create an unreasonable burden on any party, as determined by the court in which the litigation is commenced;
(8) that all agreements between a brewer or a beer importer and a wholesaler must recognize the constitutional right to a jury trial as set forth in Article II, section 26, of the Montana constitution."
Section 2. Section 16-3-416, MCA, is amended to read:
"16-3-416. Table wine distributor provisions. (1) A supplier or table wine distributor must have a written agreement of distributorship that provides for purchase of the supplier's products from the supplier by the table wine distributor.
(2) An agreement of distributorship must provide that:
(a) a supplier shall notify a table wine distributor in writing at least 60 days prior to termination of an agreement of distributorship unless a termination without notice is permitted as provided in 16-3-417. The written notice must state the reasons for termination. Notice of termination is void if within 60 days of the notice, the table wine distributor rectifies the deficiency stated as the reason for termination and if the deficiency was not stated as reason for termination in a notice previously voided under the provisions of this subsection.
(b) a supplier may not unreasonably withhold or delay approval of a sale or transfer of the ownership, management, or control of a table wine distributorship. However, a table wine distributor shall give a supplier no less than 60 days' prior written notice of any material change in ownership, management, or control.
(3) Within 60 days after entering into an agreement of distributorship, the supplier shall advise the department of the agreement by filing a copy of the agreement that must include the sales area or areas designated for the table wine distributor.
(4) If a supplier terminates an agreement of distributorship under the provisions of subsection (2)(a), the table wine distributor subject to the termination is entitled to compensation for the laid-in cost of inventory. In the event of any termination of the agreement by the supplier other than termination for good cause or for any reason set forth in 16-3-417(3), the distributor is entitled to compensation for the laid-in cost of inventory and to liquidated damages based on the sales of the brand or brands involved, as may be provided in the agreement. If the supplier and the distributor are unable to agree on the amount of liquidated damages, the amount of liquidated damages must be determined by an arbitrator appointed under subsection (5) of this section.
(5) If undertaken in good faith by a supplier, a supplier may terminate an agreement of distributorship for a legitimate business reason not within the definition of good cause if an arbitrator appointed by the department finds, after hearing the supplier and the table wine distributor, that the termination is in the best interest of the table wine brand concerned. Arbitration under this section must be conducted under the provisions of Title 27, chapter 5.
(6) All agreements of distributorship are interpreted and governed by the laws of Montana.
(7) In any dispute resulting in litigation between a supplier and a distributor, the litigation must occur in a Montana court, federal or state, unless that forum would create an unreasonable burden on any party, as determined by the court in which the litigation is commenced.
(8) Agreements between a supplier and a distributor must recognize the constitutional right to a jury trial as set forth in Article II, section 26, of the Montana constitution.
(7)(9) A provision in an agreement of distributorship that is inconsistent with the requirements of this section is void."
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Latest Version of HB 615 (HB0615.ENR)
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