The corporate power players involved in this high-stakes federal legal entanglement might concur with the oft-repeated phrase first spoken in the 1967 movie "Cool Hand Luke."
“What we have here is a failure to communicate.”
Assuming no ill intent — never a given in the day-to-day scraps of the business world — no truer words fit a $25 million-plus dispute featuring one of Nashville's most prominent brands.
On May 8, California-based EPAC Technologies, an on-demand manufacturer and printer of books and other documents, accused Nashville-based Thomas Nelson in District Court of promissory fraud, breach of contract and bad faith termination.
At issue is whether Thomas Nelson agreed to order and buy from EPAC “all of Thomas Nelson’s requirements for books printed in formats supported by EPAC.” These formats include the “print on demand” technology. The original contract was for a five-year term with each party having rights to renew for additional five-year periods. Six months notice was required before any party could leave the relationship.
The complaint states that Thomas Nelson bailed on EPAC eight months into the contract. Apparently, the publishing group found a cheaper alternative. Thomas Nelson is further accused of using other providers to meet its “on-demand” publishing needs in spite of the fact that EPAC had spent millions on capital improvements, signed multi-year leases and hired and trained dozens of employees to handle the Thomas Nelson relationship.
EPAC is claiming that its economic damage thus far is $25 million but expects the court to determine the final number. EPAC is being represented by Thor Urness and Jonathan Rose of the Nashville office of Bradley Arant Boult Cummings. Urness declined to comment on the specifics of this case.
Thomas Nelson’s general counsel, Frank Wentworth, could not be reached Monday.