Tyson Foods Sues Over Tortilla Woes

Tyson Foods Sues Over Tortilla Woes

A subsidiary of Tyson Foods Inc. of Springdale is suing a Wisconsin firm for at least $4.8 million over allegations that it botched a tortilla project it was hired to do.

Tyson Mexican Original Inc. is suing Robinson Metal Inc., which now owns PHC3 Holdings LLC, the company Tyson hired to do the project in 2016, according to Tyson’s lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Fayetteville.

Tyson wanted to create a tortilla product for a customer who wasn’t identified in the lawsuit. The manufacturing of the product called for cheese to be placed between two tortillas and promoted by the unnamed customer as a substitute for a taco shell, the lawsuit said.

The process included the tortillas having to be aligned and then crimped around the outer edges.

PHC3 was supposed to design, manufacture and install the necessary equipment in Tyson’s food processing plant in Fayetteville. Tyson paid it $4.3 million.

Tyson alleged that PHC3 missed its deadline of April 7, 2017, to have the equipment up and running. And, when it was installed, Tyson alleged it didn’t work as promised, resulting in Tyson removing most of the equipment. “This non-conforming, specialized equipment was essentially worthless at the time of removal,” the lawsuit said. Tyson Mexican Original is being represented by Todd Lewis of the law firm of Conner & Winters of Fayetteville.

Tyson said it also had to hire other contractors and buy additional material in order to incorporate the equipment and system into its plant, costing about $105,000, the lawsuit said.

And, making matters worse, Tyson said, PHC3 billed it nearly $500,000 for spare parts, but only delivered $26,000 worth of the equipment.

Tyson’s allegations of wrongdoing include breach of contract and negligence for failing to complete the project.

Robinson Metal had not filed its answer to the lawsuit as of Thursday. And its attorney, David Weber of the law firm of Conway Olejniczak & Jerry of Green Bay, Wisconsin, didn’t immediately return a call for comment.