Cuisine de France owner Aryzta and US snack maker McKee Foods have been told to work together to find a more efficient means to resolving a discovery dispute that has forced a Tennessee court to sift through "hundreds or thousands" of documents that have already been produced.
The pair have been at loggerheads over the volume of documentation that has been requested by Swiss-Irish firm Aryzta as it defends a multi-million-dollar lawsuit launched against it by McKee in 2017.
Aryzta wanted access to a raft of financial information from McKee Foods as it questioned whether the US firm "suffered any damages at all" in a dispute that stems from a crackdown by the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency on illegal workers at two facilities in Chicago that were once owned by Aryzta. The facilities made products for McKee.
McKee Foods claims that it has incurred at least $16m (€14m) in losses as a result of Aryzta being unable to fulfil its manufacturing obligations for the US firm.
Aryzta recently asked the Tennessee court to compel McKee Foods to produce a large amount of financial information, claiming that the US company had engaged in a "war of attrition by refusing to produce relevant evidence that goes to the heart of any potential damages calculation". McKee has rejected the claim.
The judge hearing the case has ordered lawyers for the firms to meet to agree on the discovery required.