MOTHER VS. SON: Coldwater Cafe restaurant lawsuit ends abruptly

A lawsuit that pitted the founder of Coldwater Cafe in Tipp City against her own son — who is the current owner of the restaurant — has ended abruptly after 51 weeks of legal wrangling.

None of the parties in the lawsuit, however, has much to say about it.

FIRST REPORT: Coldwater Cafe lawsuit pits mother against son (February 2017)

Betty Peachey, who founded Coldwater Cafe in 1994, filed her lawsuit in February 2017 claiming that her son, Nicholas Hoover, reneged on a 2011 oral agreement to pay her $40,000 per year for the rest of her life in exchange for full ownership of the restaurant.

Nearly a year of legal maneuvering later, the two sides have reached a settlement, and Peachey, in legal documents filed Tuesday in Miami County Common Pleas Court, dismissed the lawsuit, with a legally binding promise not to re-file any similar legal challenge.

NEW DETAILS: Restaurant eviction lawsuit at The Greene is escalating

Craig Matthews, the Centerville attorney representing Peachey, gave this news outlet a statement from Peachey late Tuesday: “The case was settled and dismissed. I am not at liberty to discuss further.” Andrea Hoover, Nicholas Hoover’s wife, responded to an email saying, “The case was settled and dismissed. I’m not at liberty to discuss anything further.” And David Pierce, Nicholas Hoover’s attorney, said in a phone interview, “This case was settled and dismissed,” and declined further comment.

The 12 best restaurants in the Dayton area

The settlement paves the way for Coldwater Cafe to move forward without the uncertainty of the lawsuit hanging over it. The full-service, fine-dining restaurant has been a popular destination for several years. In 2017, Coldwater Cafe was included in the online-reservations website’s 2017 list of the “100 Most Romantic Restaurants in America.”

Prior to Tuesday’s settlement, both sides had plenty to say, despite their close family connection.

“Mr. Hoover never promised to pay (his mother) a lifelong, annual retirement of $40,000 a year if (she) transferred all remaining voting and non-voting shares to him,” Hoover’s former attorneys wrote in legal documents filed in 2017.

Local restaurant named one of ‘100 Most Romantic’ in U.S.

Hoover contended that his mother had been working as “an at-will employee” of the restaurant, said his mother essentially walked out on her job in March 2014 “and never returned to work.”

After a “lengthy absence,” the lawsuit response said, Hoover determined that his mother “had abandoned her employment, and as a result, (he) terminated her employment and bi-weekly payroll payments.”

Matthews, Peachey’s attorney, had told this news outlet that, “The evidence will show Betty loved working at the cafe — it was her baby. She left only because he told her to. And he paid her retirement as he had promised until other financial commitments become more important than a son’s promise to his mother. Who pays ‘salary’ to an employee who ‘abandoned’ their job?”

RELATED: Coldwater Cafe to open wine shop next door to restaurant (April 2016)

Peachey founded Coldwater Cafe in 1994, and said in her lawsuit that she originally hired her son to work in Coldwater Cafe’s kitchen, then sent him to culinary school in California to groom him to take over as executive chef at the restaurant.

ALSO NEW TODAY: Local shopping mall to host its first wine-tasting — and more are coming

After a transfer of ownership shares over several years, Peachey said in her lawsuit that she maintained a presence in the restaurant from 2011 to early 2014. But in March 2014, her son, “to the shock and dismay of Peachey, told his mother he no longer wanted her to be at the restaurant,” her lawsuit said. But she continued receiving payments until August 2015, when Hoover informed his mother that he was stopping the payments.

“Peachey would not have allowed Hoover to acquire ownership and control of Coldwater (Cafe) had she known he would break his promise to her,” the lawsuit said.

Peachey had sought compensatory and punitive damages as well as court costs and attorneys’ fees. The settlement of the case calls for each party to pay their own attorneys’ fees.

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Local

Convicted murderer mistakenly released from jail 
Convicted murderer mistakenly released from jail 

The Georgia jail that mistakenly released a convicted murderer said no one will be disciplined for what happened. The DeKalb County Sheriff's Office realized a mistake was made after the murder victim's family saw the murderer on the streets. "Sounds like somebody didn't relay the right information or didn't look," one DeKalb County...
Falling in love at Dayton Opera: Young artists sing ‘Barber of Seville’
Falling in love at Dayton Opera: Young artists sing ‘Barber of Seville’

It’s easy to imagine an 8-year-old girl aspiring to become a ballerina or a 14-year-old musician dreaming of rock star fame. But what accounts for a decision to set your sights on an opera career? We posed that question to the four young opera singers participating in Dayton Opera’s Artist-in-Residence program this season. Selected from...
Coupon deals of the week
Coupon deals of the week

Coupon availability and coupon values may vary within different regions or neighborhoods. Colgate Mouthwash This week at CVS, Colgate mouthwash is on sale for $5.99. Use the $2 off one Colgate mouthwash coupon found in most of today’s SmartSource inserts. When you check out, you will also get $1 back in ExtraBucks good off your next purchase...
Watch out for these non-fiction favorites
Watch out for these non-fiction favorites

Over the years I have covered the book beat, I’ve discovered some interesting statistics — on average women read more books than men do. While there are many readers who read both fiction and non-fiction, women are more likely to read fiction and men are more likely to read non-fiction. RELATED: It was a miracle that this soldier survived...
Flu shots less effective than normal, CDC report says

It turns out the rumors were true: This year’s flu shot is indeed less effective than usual. An unusually resilient strain of influenza called H3N2 has been the predominant assailant this season, and the vaccine rolled out last year was ill-suited to protect against it. While previous analyses from Canada and Australia on its H3N2 effectiveness...
More Stories