Lapp's Fresh Meats, one of several Amish-run stalls inside the Joppa Market Place at Joppatowne Plaza Shopping Center, must close within ten days, a federal judge ruled Thursday.
The meat vendor violates an agreement between Redner's, a Pennsylvania grocery chain with a store in the shopping center, and the plaza's owner, the Baltimore-based Cordish Cos., U.S. District Judge Richard D. Bennett said.
Redner's sued Cordish more than two years ago, saying that the Amish stalls break a contract between the companies.
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1002 Joppa Farm Road, Joppatowne Plaza Shopping Center, Joppatowne, MD 21085, USA
That contract prevents Cordish from leasing property within a five-mile radius of the shopping center to be used as a "food supermarket, butcher shop, seafood shop, or grocery store," according to court filings. The plaza is at the intersection of Pulaski Highway and Joppa Farm Road in southwestern Harford County.
Earlier this year, after a trial, a judge determined that Lapp's Fresh Meats and a business called All Fresh Quality Seafood & Produce, which was also inside Joppa Market Place but is now closed, violated the contract between Redner's and Cordish.
The judge determined that several other food stalls in Joppa Market Place, a warehouse dominated by a flea market, did not violate the contract. The fate of several others is still up in the air and will require another trial, according to court records.
Redner's signed a lease in 2005 with Joppatowne G.P. Limited Partnership, a division of the Cordish Cos., and became an anchor tenant.
The grocery chain agreed to pay Cordish more than $12 million over a 20-year lease, according to court filings. The lease prohibited the developer from renting to another business that would have more than 6,000 square feet dedicated to groceries unless it was an ethnic or specialty food store.
An accountant hired by Redner's figured the grocery chain had lost about $2.3 million because of the Amish Market, according to court documents.
Cordish is appealing the order forcing Lapp's Fresh Meats to close.