Austin, TX. January 15, 2009- Whole Foods Market, Inc. today re-filed its case against the Federal Trade Commission in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit to sooner reach a decision on the merits of the case. The petition charges the FTC with violating Whole Foods Market's due process and equal protection rights.
Because the FTC's administrative trial begins on April 6, 2009, Whole Foods Market decided not to spend time arguing the case on jurisdictional grounds and voluntarily withdrew it from the District Court, re-filing it in the Court of Appeals.
“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, executive vice president of growth and business development for Whole Foods Market. “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.”
In its petition, Whole Foods Market 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 Whole Foods Market 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, like Whole Foods Market, are subjected to a different standard of justice than those under the U.S. Department of Justice, which does not 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 has called for abolishing the dual system that allows the FTC to conduct its own administrative trial while the Department of Justice can only proceed in federal court.