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Ben & Jerry's For West Bank Sales of Ice Cream Sued Unilever Which Refuses Counsel Service

By Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon Maxwell Book
BBC-Guardian UK - Honduras - ESPN NY Mag

SDNY COURTHOUSE, Oct 31 – Ben & Jerry's sued its corporate parent Unilever for declaring that its ice cream WILL be sold in the West Bank, despite B&J's independent board's decision not to.  

The case has been filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York where Inner City Press immediately found it in the docket.  Complaint on Patreon here.

 Ben & Jerry's says "from its stands on migrant justice to LGBTQ+ right to BLM and climate change, the Ben & Jerry's brand is synonymous with social activism... the Independent Board of Director determined that it would be inconsistent with the essential elements of Ben & Jerry's brand integrity for Ben & Jerry's to be sold in the West Bank."  

 Then they cite a press release "Unilever reaches new business arrangements for Ben & Jerry's in Israel."

A preliminary then permanent injunction was sought, along with attorney's fees. Ben & Jerry's is represented by Cohen & Gresser LLP.

The PI hearing was set for July  14 at 3:45 pm. At 3:25 pm, Ben & Jerry's lawyers wrote it to cancel it, "in order for the parties to pursue an agreement to attempt to resolve their dispute through expedited formal mediation."

Later Judge Carter ordered, "ORDER granting [41] Letter Motion to Adjourn Conference. The order to show cause hearing scheduled for today is adjourned. The parties shall submit a joint status report."

On September 6, the parties informed Judge Carter that while Defendant "contents that the Complaint was inappropriately brought... it does not object to Plaintiff's request to amend."

After defendants submitted a pre-motion letter seeking to move to dismiss, Ben & Jerry's on October 31 says it is meritless - and noted that "somewhat surprisingly, Unilever plc and UIP refused to authorize their counsel to accept service, particularly since a Unilever executive already submitted a declaration in this proceeding (See ECF 31, Declaration of Matt Close)." Steps are being taken to (soft?) serve them in the UK and Netherlands.

The case is Ben & Jerry's Homemade, Inc. v. Conopco, et al., 22-cv-5681 (Carter) 


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