HP Australia has sued a former authorised distributor -- Brisbane printer consumables specialist Dynamic Supplies -- in the Supreme Court of NSW for $5.2 million.
The amount claimed allegedly relates to monies owing.
Dynamic Supplies ceased its purchasing arrangements as an HP authorised distributor on 30 September. The move followed three months of negotiations on the companies' joint strategy, Dynamic Supplies financial controller Kerry McKevitt told CRN at the time.
HP had accounted for some 40 percent of the distributor's business. The company had continued to distribute smaller amounts of HP products, McKevitt said then.
Alex Piccinini, managing director at Dynamic Supplies, confirmed the suit was related to the change in the companies' partnership and arrangements they had made to tackle the market together. He alleged that the $5.2 million claim was based on monies outstanding for goods and services.
'That's about what we owe them,' Piccinini said.
Counsel for the plaintiff, at a second preliminary hearing in the Supreme Court of NSW before Justice Patricia Bergin on 19 November, said HP was claiming $5.2 million in damages. The total was reduced by $1.6 million from an initial amount, HP's counsel said.
'I congratulate the parties on narrowing the issue,' Justice Bergin said, in making an order for the case to be heard at a later date.
Dynamic Supplies 'used to sell about $7 million to $8 million' of HP products, Piccinini confirmed in a phone interview after the hearing.
He said he was unhappy and angered by HP's actions. However, his lawyers had advised him not to release further details at this stage, he said.
Piccinini said in a 5 September memo to customers, sighted by CRN, that both parties had made 'every effort' to find a way to move forward together. 'Regrettably, our assessment of the future market conditions necessitated our decision [to leave],' the memo said.
Brad Swiney, a PR spokesman for HP Australia's imaging and printing group, said HP's policy was never to comment on legal actions in progress. He had spoken to HP's in-house legal team and they had confirmed that was so, he said.
'I imagine there's more to the story than they're [HP are] prepared to let on,' Swiney said.
Dynamic Supplies has 50 staff spread across Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and Perth offices.