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All counterclaims brought by Vietal Nutrition against First Fruits Business Ministry have been rejected.

The court was notified of FFBM’s bankruptcy filing the next day.

On October 3rd, a hearing for Vietal Nutrition’s motion to dismiss FFBM’s counterclaim was planned.

The hearing was thrown out by a provisional decision that had been issued, the court observed on September 29.

On October 4th, Vietal Nutrition submitted a motion asking for a second hearing on the dismissal of the counterclaim.

The court denied Vietal Nutrition’s application on October 6th, stating:

Oral argument would not be beneficial in this case, according to the court.

The motion is granted for the following reasons. All counterclaims are dismissed by the court without consequence.

The explanation behind the dismissal is convoluted, just like everything else in this protracted affair.

The court noted that there was a two-year statute of limitations on FFBM’s claims;

The fact that First Fruit pleads itself out of court, in this case, is not immediately apparent from the face of the First Amended Counterclaim.

The Court did decide that First Fruits’ accusations fall short of the pleading requirements of Rule 8, nevertheless.

First Fruits claims that its potential business partners are unwilling to work with it “as of the current date” because they don’t want to risk getting “dragged into litigation by Tripharma.”

Additionally, it claims that the interference “remains in effect today.”

Later on, though, it makes nebulous claims that Tripharma interfered with “other firms since that time” and a “pending deal with AIDP2 as of May 2018.”

First Fruit doesn’t mention the names of these other businesses. It is unclear whether First Fruit bases its counterclaims solely on events that occurred after May 2018 (in which case First Fruit’s counterclaim would be time-barred) or on other, unrelated events that occurred between 2018 and 2022 because First Fruit references both the “current date” and “May 2018” dates.

Furthermore, First Fruit omits mentioning the contracts, commercial relationships, and business partners that were affected as well as the dates of these interferences.

The failure of these accusations to meet the pleading requirements of Rule 8 is sufficient grounds for the dismissal of these claims.

Simply said, FFBM must locate instances of claimed injury or interference by Vietal Nutrition during the previous two years (the cited 2018 example falls outside this period).

The court then proceeded;

First Fruit asserts in its briefing that there have been recently learned facts that happened in or around August and September 2022 and related counterclaims that result from these new facts.

These further facts, which are purportedly “separate and distinct” from the earlier actions, would contradict Tripharma’s contention that the first four counterclaims are precluded by limitations.

Tripharma responds that the counterclaims will not be saved by these alleged recently discovered facts since they were found after the counterclaims were filed and because they are based on the expired ‘892 Patent, which expired in May 2022.

First Fruits may include these accusations and pursue these claims in an updated complaint if it so chooses.

The Court DISMISSES the first four claims of First Fruits without hindrance.

Because of this, FFBM’s fifth and sixth counterclaims were rejected.

The fifth and sixth counterclaims of First Fruits are based on assertions that are so nebulous and conclusory that they are unable to provide any reasonable defenses against Tripharma.

Therefore, the crucial question is whether FFBM will submit a revised counterclaim with new allegations of interference and/or injury.

This takes us to the FFBM notifying the court of its Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing.

According to FFBM’s filing from October 7th, the corporation

reveals assets between $50M and $100M and liabilities between $1M and $10M.

According to the (bankruptcy) petition, unsecured creditors will have access to funds.

Also, keep in mind that Vietal Nutrition also succeeded in getting an FFBM Receiver appointed in September.

As things stand, a patent dispute trial between Vietal Nutrition and FFBM is set to take place in March.

Awakened, whose Zenith weight loss pill is created using the contested patent, is on the line.

Although I’m not following the bankruptcy procedures for FFBM, I’ll be checking the patent docket for developments. Stay tuned…

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