Vikas WSP Limited v. Economy Mud Products Company a/k/a Economy Polymers & Chemical, Inc.
OPINION on Intervention. Because of Vikas's breaches, the settlement no longer exists. N.M. Food and Ruchi have nothing upon which to base their claims. Their motion to intervene is denied. (Signed by Judge Lynn N Hughes) Parties notified. (ghassan, 4)
SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF TEXAS
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
United States District Court
Southern District of Texas
Vikas WSP Limited,
Economy Mud Products Company,
March 02, 2017
David J. Bradley, Clerk
Civil Action H-13-3426
Opinion on Intervention
An Indian vendor contracted with Indian suppliers to purchase guar for a Texas
company. The suppliers seek to intervene in the vendor's lawsuit against the Texas
company, claiming they are beneficiaries of a settlement agreement.
This is a recent offshoot to multiple years, parties, lawyers, and claims.
Economy Mud Products Company is a Texas corporation that sells guar
products to oilfield-service companies in the United States. For over fifteen years it has
purchased guar from Vikas WSP Limited - an Indian company - that buys it from
Indian suppliers, including N.M. Food Products, N.M. Agro Food Products Limited,
Manoj Trader, Nand Lal Naresh Kumar, N.M. Exports, N.M. Agro Food Products Pvt.
Ltd., Nand Lal Mahabir Parshad, and Ruchi Soya Industries Limited.
In 2012, at the request of its customers, Economy submitted orders to Vikas
for pure, high viscosity guar. On the parties' agreement, each delivery was to be tested
for quality by Vikas, and then shipped to Economy with a certificate of compliance.
Economy's own quality checks later revealed that the Vikas-supplied guar was below
Economy canceled its remaining orders. On November 19, 2013, Vikas sued.
On December 20,2014, Vikas and Economy settled the underlying lawsuit.
As a condition to further payments and to preserve Economy's business
reputation in India, Vikas had to (a) disclose certain information - name, contract,
delivery date, payment date - about each supplier of guar seed purchased for Economy,
and (b) insure that all suppliers were paid in full by December 3 I, 2014. IfVikas did
not comply, it would be in breach of the settlement, and Economy's obligation to
continue paying would terminate.
On December 30, 2014, Vikas gave Economy the suppliers' information,
representing that N .M. Food and Rucru had been paid for guar delivered to Vikas for
Economy's 2012 purchases.
InJune 20IS, Economy learned that N.M. Food and Ruchi had not been paid
as Vikas had represented, much less been paid in full by the end of 2014- Vikas argued
that a purported agreement with N.M. Food discharged its duty to pay in full.
On September 16, 2016, the court struck Vikas's pleadings. The remaining
issues are Economy's breach of contract claim against Vikas, and N.M. Food's and
Ruchi's motion to intervene and to enforce the settlement.
Economy argues that Vikas breached the settlement by (a) failing to insure that
all suppliers were paid in full by December 3 I, 2014; (b) failing to disclose
modifications to the suppliers' contracts; and (c) breaching its warranty about payments
it had made to suppliers.
The settlement required Vikas to pay all suppliers fully. Vikas argues that its
duty was discharged by a purported agreement with N.M. Food. The express terms of
the agreement demonstrate Vikas's breach: Economy bargained for all suppliers to be
paid in full; nothing about Vikas's accord with N.M. Food constitutes payment in full.
Economy gave Vikas money to pay the suppliers. To have that money held by Vikas is
in violation of the settlement.
Vikas agreed to disclose by December 26, 2014, information about each
supplier, including the supply contracts and any amendments, modifications, and
novations. On July 7, 2015, Vikas identified - for the first time - its release agreement
with N.M. Food. Vikas's failure to disclose on time that agreement constitutes another
breach of the settlement - if, as is highly improbable, it is real.
Vikas warranted that N.M. Food and Ruchi had received payments on April 26,
2013, and May 9, 2013, for guar they had supplied for Economy's 2012 purchases. On
June 17, 2015, Economy discovered that no payments, in cash or in kind, had ever been
made by Vikas to N .M. Food or RuehL
The settlement is clear: one breach excuses performance by the non-breaching
party. Three breaches by Vikas are compellingly clear - Economy has no further
obligation under the settlement.
N.M. Food and Ruchi seek to intervene and to enforce the Vikas-Economy
settlement. Economy says that N.M. Food and Ruchi cannot intervene or enforce a
breached settlement to which they were not known or identified as beneficiaries. It
insists that any claim for nonpayment must be brought against Vikas.
Without Vikas' s motion to enforce the settlement, no matterjurisdiction allows
N.M. Food and Ruchi to intervene in this case. Their claims are dependent upon the
settlement; absent it, they have nothing. Upon Vikas's breach, the settlement and
claims derived from it ceased to exist.
Assuming that Vikas had not breached the settlement, N .M. Food and Ruchi
would not prevail. That a person might receive an incidental benefit from a contract to
which he is not a party does not give him a right to enforce it. To recover, the contract
must have been entered into directly and primarily for the non-party's benefit. I
House v. Houston Waterworks Co., 31 S.W. 179, 180 (Tex. 1895); Restatement (Second) of the
Law of Contracts § 315 (1979); 13 Williston on Contracts § 3T19 (4th ed. 1990).
The settlement between Vikas and Economy was not made with the intention
of fulfilling Vikas's obligation to pay money to N.M. Food and Ruchi; they were not
known or identified as beneficiaries when it was written. Economy agreed to pay Vikas
for guar products. Vikas's desire to then discharge obligations it may have to third
parties was not the basis of their agreement. Though the money was to be paid by
Economy in order that Vikas have funds to pay suppliers, including N.M. Food and
Ruchi, they are at most incidental beneficiaries. 2
Vikas may have contracted with N.M. Food and Ruehl, but Economy did not.
In its purchase orders to Vikas, Economy never specified a particular guar supplier. It
owes no duty to N.M. Food and Ruchi; they are not third-party beneficiaries of the
settlement and they cannot resurrect a breached settlement that the direct parties are
not willing to perform. 3
Because ofVikas's breaches, the settlement no longer exists. N.M. Food and
Ruchi have nothing upon which to base their claims. Their motion to intervene is
Signed on March
at Houston, Texas.
Lynn N. Hughes
United States DistrictJudge
Restatement (Second) of the Law of Contracts § 302 (1979)'
3 Farnsworth on Contracts § 10.9 (Jd ed. 2004).
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