|PERCY CROSBY ESTATE|
"I hope we shall crush in its birth the aristocracy of our monied corporations which dare already to challenge our government to a trial by strength, and bid defiance to the laws of our country." - Thomas Jefferson
CPC'S FRAUD ON THE COURTS (1980-87)
In 1977, I met with CPC's in-house counsel, Hanes Heller, to discuss the legal claims of Skippy, Inc. and to seek a settlement without being forced to sue. My husband and I had moved to Virginia and had just learned that the federal public record in the Patent Office of Skippy's opposition against Rosefield Packing Co.(1933-34) had been "accidentally destroyed" in 1965-66, during the Crosby estate litigation in New York. I asked Heller if he had a copy of the action with him, and he said it was in his briefcase, but would not show it to me. He falsely told me he had no knowledge of trademark law, and stated falsely that the statute of limitations had expired. Although he admitted that Rosefield's conduct in taking Skippy was "unconscionable", he denied that Best Foods/CPC had any liability. But he did not disclose that Jerome Rosefield became Best Foods officer, director and head of the "Skippy division" in 1955. He denied any knowledge Lord, Day & Lord represented CPC, and had refused to give me legal files of Skippy, Inc. and Percy Crosby I demanded. He offered me $10,000 to file a dissolution of Skippy as a Delaware corporation, which I refused. He asked me what I would do if I had "a lot of money", and I said I would use it to sue CPC if, as I believed, CPC had no legal right to the Skippy trademark. Heller claimed he was "sympathetic" to what happened to my father and wanted to "help". His "help" came in the use of fraud, trickery and threats to induce me to sign an option agreement to CPC for the Skippy property, with a payment of $25,000, which required me to release CPC before I could receive the legal files from Lord, Day & Lord.
When I got the files in 1978, I was angry and phoned Heller to protest that they were highly material and deliberately concealed from my father's estate. His comment: "I was afraid you'd find them helpful." I was unaware then he had written a memo of our first meeting, admitting that the Skippy peanut butter label was "plagiarized" from my father's work, and stated his concern about "adverse publicity" to CPC if I pursued Skippy's legal claims. Heller refused to settle out of court, and warned me that if Skippy Inc. sued to cancel CPC's Skippy trademark, "We'll fight you to the death...CPC has considerable influence in Washington corridors and can see to it that certain doors remain forever closed to you and Skippy." As my family and I were to learn, CPC had no qualms about using its corrupt influence to compromise Skippy, Inc. counsel, to obstruct justice and to use its political influence with law firms and government agencies to suppress a criminal investigation of its Skippy enterprise.
No reputable attorney with a "high profile" case involving theft from a celebrity artist's estate would advise his client to file suit in the wrong jurisdiction, and insist that Virginia was the client's "most favorable forum", while ignoring instructions to file in New York. But that is what Skippy's counsel, Stephen Trattner, did in 1980, knowing that it was the forum of choice for CPC, Virginia being "the peanut capital of the world". Trattner not only lost our jury trial demand for damages, and request for an injunction, but he concealed incriminating evidence in CPC's legal files from his client and the Court, and never revealed that the New York Supreme Court had original jurisdiction over Rosefield's fraudulent conveyance of Skippy to Best Foods in 1955. Skippy, Inc. v. CPC International, Inc., 210 U.S.P.Q. 589, E.D. Va.,1980.
We appealed and in 1982 the Fourth Circuit upheld the 1934 final decision of the Patent Office for Skippy, Inc., vacating the lower court's declaratory judgment that CPC's Skippy trademark was incontestable. CPC refused to heed the district judge's request for a certified order, and Trattner refused to take proper action. I fired him in 1982 for conniving at his client's defeat. Skippy, Inc. v. CPC International, Inc., 674 F. 2d 209, 4th Cir. 1982. Little did we know then that CPC had fraudulently concealed "smoking gun" evidence of its infamous battle with the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) re peanut butter standards, and the FDA decision in 1966 that "Skippy is adulterated and outlawed." CPC lost its appeal of the FDA decision in 1970 (U.S. Court of Appeals, Third Circuit).