The East Coast's leading Filipino American wholesaler Phil-Am Trading filed suit against grocery store Phil-Am Food Merchandising for encroaching on the wholesaler's rights under the law.
In good faith, Trading expended a great deal of time and money in two attempts to settle the matter without the need for litigation. On both occasions, Phil-Am Trading and Phil-Am Food negotiated mutually acceptable settlement agreements, only to have Phil-Am Food (Erwin Santos) renege at the last minute without any real dispute as to the salient terms of settlement. Most recently, in September 2015, Phil-Am Food reneged on a fully negotiated settlement agreement.
Ultimately, Phil-Am Trading felt compelled to file this lawsuit in federal court in order to have the judiciary enforce the settlement agreement and ensure that Phil-Am Food adhere to the terms.
Damage award sought: no less than $1,000,000
The Phil-Am Food grocery store is owned by Erwin Santos with its registered corporate name actually being Phil-Am Merchandising. There are two other publicly known lawsuits filed against it and its owners, the Santos Family.
There are no known lawsuits filed against the wholesaler Phil-Am Trading or its owners, the Arcilla family. Vice President Derrick Arcilla is a graduate of Rutgers University with a degree in Economics.
For those familiar with this Jersey City scandal that involves two branches of one extended family, the small grocery store Phil-Am Food had long been in the shadow of the wholesaler Phil-Am Trading's stellar reputation.
Phil-Am Food itself has reportedly been the subject of several state and federal investigations and/or sanctions for improper food handling, illegal food sales, and other violations. There was even a federal lawsuit filed based on the Fair Labor Standards Act, which alleged the failure to pay law-mandated overtime pay to hundreds of workers over the years.
Many Filipino-American retail stores who procure wholesale products, and even self-described friends of the Phil-Am Food principals, have come to assume that Phil-Am Food and Phil-Am Trading are one and the same operation or at least working in cooperation. Nothing could be further from the truth. There seems to be large-scale animosity (translation: HATE) between the two companies.
Original 21-page complaint filed by Phil-Am Trading to commence legal proceedings against PhilAm Food Merchandising is available for download in PDF here.
In the face of strong evidence and case law against it, Phil-Am Merchandising (Philam Food) agreed to a settlement agreement in May 2016, finalized in July 2016, which involved changing its name to Filstop Grocery / Filstop Inc. The associated wholesale company is LS Filipino Food Merchandising.