Indianapolis, Indiana – Sports Turf Northwest, LLC (“Sports Turf”), the Plaintiff, was apparently organized in October 2012 to become an authorized dealer for Defendants SA Heinen LLC and GreensGroomer WorldWide, Inc. (collectively “GreensGroomer”). According to the Complaint, GreensGroomer manufactures commercial maintenance equipment for the artificial and natural turf industries along with “the first-ever UVC line of maintenance equipment that disinfects surfaces associated with various sports surfaces.” Sports Turf claims it began conducting business with GreensGroomer in October 2012, but that GreensGroomer’s president, Shawn A. Heinen (“Heinen”) could not find an agreement on file on or about April 23, 2018. After negotiating new contract terms, a new agreement (“Agreement”) was apparently entered into on or about May 18, 2018.
Heinen then allegedly purchased GreensGroomer in 2019 (the “Acquisition”). Per the Complaint, the Agreement expired on its own terms as a result of the Acquisition. After the expiration of the Agreement, Sports Turf attempted to negotiate a new contract, but Heinen apparently only wanted an “arrangement” and not a formal contract. Sports Turf claims it continued selling products on behalf of GreensGroomer after the termination of the Agreement. However, around the same time, GreensGroomer along with Co-Defendants MJ Group Consulting, Inc. and John Does (collectively “Defendants”) allegedly “colluded in a bid-rigging scheme to allocate consumers and create the illusion of competition.” Sports Turf claims Defendants informed Sports Turf that they were effectively increasing the price per unit for Sports Turf because of the COVID-19 pandemic and the associated high demand for all UVC products.
According to the Complaint, this price increase reduced Sports Turf’s margins from $500 to $0, effectively forcing it to stop selling the products. Sports Turf further claims Defendants have implemented a scheme to fix prices and rig the bidding of products that disinfect artificial turf, which denies Sports Turf an opportunity to earn future revenue on those products and denies consumers an opportunity to engage in free and open competition. Finally, Sports Turf claims Defendants refused to provide it with products to sell from December 2020 through the present further restricting its opportunity to profit.
Therefore, Sports Turf is suing for alleged illegal restraint on trade, attempted monopolization of artificial turf maintenance equipment, violations of Section 5 of the FTC Act, violation of Indiana antitrust laws, breach of contract, and tortious interference with business relationships