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Bizarre breach of contract suit pits designer against distributor

A designer notorious for having allegedly stolen designs from independent designers is turning the tables on Urban Outfitters, according to local news reports. Art aficionados in Florida may be familiar with Cody Foster, a wholesaler embroiled in controversy after evidence surfaced suggesting he was selling designers’ work without their permission. Now, he is suing Urban Outfitters and its subsidiary, Anthropologie, for breach of contract.

According to paperwork filed by the plaintiff, Anthropologie regularly purchased ornamental works of art from Foster for resale in their stores. However, when the controversy surrounding Foster’s questionable relationship with independent designers surfaced, Anthropologie cut ties. Urban Outfitters followed suit, severing its retail relationship with Foster and his company in Oct. 2013.

Since then, Urban Outfitters has attempted to return to Foster over $500,000 in ornaments, wall hangings and other decoration it purchased between January and October of last year that had not yet been paid for. This would occur with cost of shipping relegated to Foster’s company. Foster has, in turn, filed a lawsuit demanding the full amount plus damages. The case is currently being overseen in a local court.

It remains to be seen what the outcome may be. While it is tempting for some Florida residents to sympathize with Urban Outfitters’ decision to sever ties with Foster after news of the alleged creative theft surfaced, the fact remains that a contract existed between the two entities. If Urban Outfitters failed to properly dissolve those contracts, a court may find the breach of contract suit in favor of Foster and Co.

Source: fastcodesign.com, Design Pirate Cody Foster Sues Urban Outfitters For Breach Of Contract, John Brownlee, March 18, 2014

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