In a significant legal triumph, a New York County Supreme Court judge has ruled in favor of T&S’s client, a prominent international restaurant and cocktail bar chain based in Manhattan, completely dismissing a high-stakes lawsuit alleging breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, fraud, and other torts.
The suit, filed against the restaurant chain’s parent company and its five owners in 2021, was brought by an investor in one of the chain’s sister restaurants that was established in Miami. The plaintiff alleged that T&S’s client misled the investor and mismanaged the Miami restaurant, causing the investor to lose out on capital the investor had put into certain operations.
Opening a new restaurant—especially in a tough market like Miami—is a risky, difficult, and time-consuming endeavor. The plaintiff sought over $1 million in damages, including interest and attorneys’ fees. However, in granting T&S’s motion on behalf of its client, the Court fully agreed with T&S that the chain exercised its best business judgment in managing the Miami operation, which did not give rise to any liability.
In a rare pre-trial ruling on the merits, Judge Arlene Bluth granted summary judgment to all of T&S’ clients on all causes of action on December 13, 2023. The judgment clears all the restaurant chains and all of its owners from any liability, but it is also a testament to their integrity and fair business practices.
J.R. Skrabanek of Thompson & Skrabanek, PLLC, who represented all defendants, played a pivotal role in securing the victory, with the assistance of associate Mastewal Terefe. The firm and the clients are both very pleased with the result, which is also partly due to the clients’ unwavering trust in the firm. The court adopted verbatim in its formal legal opinion some of the language in the firm’s briefing. The court’s decision is directly available to the public here.
The court's decision to grant summary judgment at the end of this almost three-year battle is noteworthy, as it underscores the ultimate validity of the clients’ defenses. Summary judgment was a clear vindication of T&S’s clients and a message that baseless lawsuits cannot undermine the spirit of honest enterprises.
Based in both New York and Texas, Thompson & Skrabanek, PLLC regularly represents New York restaurants in a variety of matters, including with contracts, employment, construction matters, regulatory compliance, outside general counsel, and any disputes concerning the foregoing. Please contact the firm if you are a restaurant seeking representation for any issues within New York City.