Update on Chicago Wars! Force Partners vs KSA Lighting, Acuity Brands

When I was a rookie at what was then called GE’s Large Lamp Division, we were taught to try to sign the Allen-Bradley distributor.  The theory was that since A-B was a wildly profitable line and exclusive in most markets, they had the best electrical distributor in town. In order to get the high prices that A-B required, their team had to know how to upsell. Therefore, if we could sign the A-B distributor, we would have the best sales team in each market.

The exclusive, preferred or premier model, has been a part of the electrical industry long before I got here, and it will likely survive the litigation that is occurring in Chicago between Force Partners, a Cooper Rep and KSA Lighting & Controls, the Acuity Rep.

Last week the judge threw out two of the counts and a portion of a third, allowing the remainder of the 7 counts to go forward.  The litigation was originally filed in November of 2019 and has moved slowly because of COVID.  In June of 2020, EdisonReport published a detailed defense of the 7 counts.   The case is on its second judge, and Force Partners and KSA will have the opportunity to respond.   The case should move faster now.  If the judge does not dismiss the remaining counts, discovery will begin, and this is when the litigation costs become expensive.

The preferred/premier treatment issue is the part of the story that looms large, but there is a second story, a more personal one. Force Partners seems intent on trying to embarrass Jim Williams.   The original complaint calls The Williamses, “a flashy and flamboyant couple.”  Your humble editor knows both Jim and Ashley Williams, and they have never seemed flashy nor flamboyant, but if they were, what difference does it make?  What does flashiness have to do with showing loyalty to a loyal electrical distributor?

The complaint states that the Williamses were married at the Trump Hotel in Chicago.  Again, what does the venue of their wedding have to do with anything?   Not only does the suit name KSA Lighting & Controls and Acuity as defendants, it names both Jim and Ashley Williams, as well.

It’s personal!

Editor’s Note:  EdisonReport is owned and operated by Randy Reid, who also owns LumEfficient Lighting. LumEfficient is represented in Illinois and Indiana by KSA Lighting & Controls.