State Supreme Court tosses out Maurice's barbecue sauce suit

(Columbia-AP) March 31, 2007 - The state Supreme Court has tossed out a lawsuit filed by barbecue magnate Maurice Bessinger accusing several grocery store chains of unfair trade by not selling his sauce on their shelves.

The nine chains removed Bessinger's mustard-based barbecue sauce in 2000 after he raised the Confederate flag over his restaurants in protest of the flag being removed from atop the Statehouse dome.

News stories at the time also pointed out Bessinger distributed literature at his restaurants with titles like "The South Was Right" and "Myths of American Slavery."

The state Supreme Court recently upheld rulings by two lower courts that Bessinger's case did not have enough merit to be heard by a jury.

Bessinger sued Bi-Lo, Food Lion, Harris Teeter, Kroger, Publix, Wal-Mart, Sam's Club, Winn-Dixie and Piggly Wiggly stores for $50 million, saying they violated his right to free speech under the state's Unfair Trade Practices Act.

Posted 4:40pm by Logan Smith