Citing Violations, Whole Foods Refiles Case Against FTC

Whole Foods Market, Inc. Friday refiled its case against the Federal Trade Commission in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. The petition charges the FTC with violating Whole Foods' due process and equal protection rights.

"Whole Foods Market is interested in getting to the merits of this case as quickly as possible, rather than spending everyone’s valuable time and resources arguing about jurisdiction," said Jim Sud, EVP of growth and business development for Whole Foods. "Filing with the Court of Appeals, which the FTC concedes has jurisdiction over the case, saves time, and we want to move this case forward in the most expeditious manner for all concerned."

Because the FTC's administrative trial begins April 6, Whole Foods decided not to spend time arguing the case on jurisdictional grounds and voluntarily withdrew it from the District Court, refiling it in the Court of Appeals.

In its petition, Whole Foods asks the court to bar the FTC from conducting a trial that would violate the company's due process rights because the FTC has already publicly prejudged the case against the chain and has refused to give the company enough time to prepare for the administrative trial.

The petition also alleges that companies under the jurisdiction of the FTC, including Whole Foods, are subject to a different standard of justice from those under the U.S. Department of Justice, which doesn't engage in further litigation if it loses a preliminary injunction. In this case, the FTC lost a preliminary injunction but started an administrative trial 18 months later. A Congressionally mandated commission called for abolishing the dual system that allows the FTC to conduct its own administrative trial, while the DOJ can only proceed in federal court.
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