***UPDATED STORY (Jan. 10, 2020)***
The founder of an independent coffee shop confirmed today that he has settled a lawsuit and counter-lawsuit with the owners of a former Fairborn ice-cream shop, and he is now looking to expand by adding multiple new retail shops in and around Dayton.
Grind House Coffee & Tea Company owner William Miller said he could not comment on the details of the settlement reached with the owners of the former Inside Scoop Ice Cream Shop in Fairborn that resulted in a lawsuit and a counter-claim being filed in 2018 in Greene County Common Pleas Court.
"The case was resolved to the satisfaction of both parties, and a nondisclosure agreement prevents further details from being shared," Miller told this news outlet in an email. Greene County court records show that Common Pleas Judge Michael A. Buckwalter has dismissed the case because it was “fully settled” during a mediation process nearly 16 months after the lawsuit was filed.
The ice cream shop’s owners, Robin Joseph and Clinton Allen, filed the initial lawsuit in August 2018, claiming that Miller engaged in fraud and defamation to take over their shop's retail space in downtown Fairborn. In a counter-claim filed two months later, Miller denied those allegations and claimed the former ice cream shop owners misled him about various aspects of their business and deliberately cast him in a false light. Both the ice cream shop and coffee shop, which initially shared space in the same retail space, shut down in 2018.
>> PREVIOUS COVERAGE: Lawsuit claims local coffee shop used fraud, lies to snag retail space (August 2018)
Miller, who operates a web-based coffee operation as well as a retail coffee shop inside the Meijer store near the Brandt Pike-I-70 interchange in Huber Heights, said he is “currently in negotiations for multiple locations” in and around Dayton.
“I can tell you that the next three locations will be in Dayton,” Miller said. He also is in negotiations to open shops in Beavercreek and Fairborn, the Grind House Coffee founder said.
“In 2020, our plan is to aggressively expand within the Miami Valley and open five locations in each of the Columbus and Cincinnati markets.”
***PREVIOUS STORY (Oct. 26, 2018)***
A lawsuit involving the owners of two former Fairborn businesses is escalating.
The owner of the former Grind House Coffee & Tea Company shop has filed a counter-claim as part of the lawsuit against him by the owners of the former Inside Scoop Ice Cream Shop. The coffee shop owner says in court documents that they intentionally sabotaged his business.
The counter-claim was filed Friday, Sept. 14 as part of a Greene County Common Pleas Court civil lawsuit filed July 31. In that original suit, the owners of the former ice cream shop at 313 W. Main St. in Fairborn claimed that Grind House Coffee & Tea Company’s owner engaged in fraud and defamation to take over their shop's retail space in downtown Fairborn.
In the counter-claim, Grind House Coffee owner William Miller denies those allegations and instead claims that Inside Scoop owners Robin Joseph and Clinton Allen misled him about various aspects of their business and deliberately cast him in a false light.
“The false light created by (the ice cream shop’s owners) was not only highly offensive, but resulted in the complete collapse of (Miller’s) business operation in Fairborn,” and it resulted in Miller and the shop’s employees “receiving threats, boycotts, vandalism of their business front, and outright intimidation,” the lawsuit says.
The counter-claim seeks compensatory damages of at least $25,000, punitive damages of twice the amount of compensatory damages, and an injunction requiring the ice cream shop’s owners “to cease their invasion of privacy” against Miller and his business, the lawsuit says.
Grind House Coffee’s owner acknowledged that the owners of The Inside Scoop reached out to him in early January 2018 about the possibility of Grind House setting up a coffee stand inside The Inside Scoop. But the owner denied the vast majority of The Inside Scoop’s lawsuit claims, including one that he indicated to the Greene County Public Health agency that he was the new owner of the business.
Robin Joseph and Clinton Allen said in their lawsuit that Miller misled them and local government agencies in order to "take over The Inside Scoop's ice cream shop business.”
They are seeking $25,000 in compensatory damages and unspecified punitive damages. The case has been assigned to Greene County Common Pleas Judge Michael Buckwalter.
After opening their ice cream shop on Kaufman Avenue in 2011, The Inside Scoop relocated to 313 W. Main St. in Fairborn in July 2014.
Grind House Coffee was started in 2015 as an online-only retailer.
On April 23, 2018, Grind House Coffee held its official grand opening as a stand-alone coffee shop, inside the former building of The Inside Scoop. Three months later, the coffee shop abruptly closed.
Miller then opened a new Grind House location inside the Huber Heights Meijer store. The shop’s grand opening was held on Aug. 1.