Miyoko Schinner and the board of the plant-based dairy company she founded have agreed to bury the hatchet, withdraw their respective legal claims and end their very public spat.
While Schinner was removed from her post at Miyoko’s Creamery in June 2022, news that she was no longer CEO did not become public until February 2023, when the company issued a press release announcing an ‘executive transition.’ Schinner claimed she’d had disagreements with the board over strategy, while a key investor and board member told reporters she lacked the skillset to take the firm to the next level.
The company followed up with a lawsuit accusing Schinner of “hatching a plot” to steal the company’s intellectual property, a move that “mystified” new board member Michele Simon, who told AFN that litigation—and the resulting negative PR for both parties— did “not further any of the company’s goals.”
Schinner responded with a countersuit alleging she was forced out of her own company after complaining to HR about male executives who “openly denigrated women.”
The parties ‘wish each other well as they go their separate ways’
However, a statement shared by both parties on their social media channels on Thursday morning suggests they have decided to stop airing their dirty laundry in public and resolve their differences privately after going through a court-mandated mediation process.
According to the statement: “Miyoko’s Creamery and Miyoko Schinner are pleased that they have resolved all legal disputes between them and that they have withdrawn all legal claims made against each other.
“Miyoko’s Creamery acknowledges the tremendous creativity, hard work, and integrity of its founder, Miyoko Schinner, a true pioneer in vegan creamery products, and appreciates her many contributions to the company over the years.
“Miyoko Schinner appreciates the dedicated team of people at Miyoko’s Creamery and their commitment to continuing her legacy through sustained and continued excellence in manufacturing, developing and selling vegan creamery products.”
Both parties “wish each other well as they go their separate ways.”
Attorney: ‘Fighting this out in court would take a huge toll on both sides’
Dale Giali, partner at law firm King & Spalding (which is not representing either party), said he was not surprised the parties had decided to bury the hatchet given that there were no upsides to prolonged litigation for either party in a case that was never going to go to trial.
“We likely will never know the material terms of the settlement, but it pretty clearly is built on a framework of the parties going their separate ways,” Giali told AFN.
“Significantly, it’s also quite clear that the parties have joined hands one last time to communicate to customers and consumers that the Miyoko’s Creamery business remains fully intact with Miyoko Schinner’s best wishes.
“No doubt that discussions along these lines were happening pre-lawsuit, but for some reason it took a lawsuit to shake loose one or both parties to reassess their settlement position. A settlement makes complete sense; fighting this dispute out in court would take a huge toll on both sides and would put at risk Miyoko’s Creamery’s strong brand reputation.”
He added: “Civil litigation that does not end by court order, such as on motion to dismiss or summary judgment, settles at a rate in the high ninety percent – so this settlement also is no surprise.”