COLDWATER CAFE: Judge fines restaurant founder for missing hearing

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

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Coldwater Cafe lawsuit pits mother against son

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

The founder of Coldwater Cafe in Tipp City — who is suing her son, the current owner of the restaurant — has been fined $250 for missing a hearing in the lawsuit.

Restaurant founder Betty Peachey had requested the legal equivalent of an excused absence from the May 11 hearing, saying through her attorney that she had recently moved from Arizona to upstate Michigan to start a new job and could not take leave on short notice without jeopardizing her employment.

But Miami County Common Pleas Judge Jeanine Pratt refused to grant her the excused absence, noting that it’s the responsibility of all parties to a lawsuit to appear at court hearings. After Peachey’s no-show, the judge fined Peachey $250.

“Furthermore, any further non-attendance by Ms. Peachey at any future hearing may result in the Court dismissing the case for lack of prosecution,” Judge Pratt wrote.

Coldwater Cafe named one of ‘100 Most Romantic’ in U.S.

The fine is among the latest twists in the restaurant lawsuit that pits mother against son. Peachey also has asked the judge to throw her son’s attorneys off the case because another member of their Troy law firm represented her on several matters when she owned Coldwater Cafe.

Peachey launched Coldwater Cafe in 1994. Her lawsuit, filed in Miami County Common Pleas Court in February, claims that her son, Nicholas Hoover, reneged on a 2011 oral agreement to pay Peachey $40,000 per year for the rest of her life in exchange for her turning over full ownership of the restaurant to Hoover.

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Peachey’s lawsuit says 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. She is seeking compensatory and punitive damages as well as court costs and attorneys’ fees.

Hoover, the current chef-owner of Coldwater Cafe, is seeking the dismissal of the lawsuit.

Hoover’s attorneys have said in court filings that there is no evidence of any oral agreement between mother and son. Hoover said in court documents that his mother walked away from her job at the restaurant in 2014, and he eventually stopped paying her salary.

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Coldwater Cafe has been a popular destination for diners throughout the Miami Valley for several years. Earlier this year, the Tipp City restaurant was included in the online-reservations website OpenTable.com’s 2017 list of the “100 Most Romantic Restaurants in America.”

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