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Federal court judge denies Bryant Family Vineyard gag order for former financial consultant

Bryant Family Vineyard’s effort to open a West Coast legal front against its New York-based former financial consultant was denied by a San Francisco federal district court judge on Friday.

The case stems from a lawsuit filed in June in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York in which the consultant, Lauren Ridenhour, sued over non-payment of a consulting fee.

The New York case was previously reported in Wine Industry Insight: Bryant Family Vineyards facing serious financial accusations in federal court.

In the New York case, Bryant’s attorneys objected to what they call confidential material being filed by Ridenhour as proof that her claim was valid. Bryant’s attorneys filed for dismissal of Ridenhour’s case claiming that she had not proven her case.

Ridenhour then filed an amended complaint citing examples of the consulting transactions.

Bryant’s attorneys objected to those additional examples and sued Ridenhour alleging non-disclosure violations.

Then, on August 19, Bryant Family Winery’s attorney filed a request in the San Francisco U.S. District Court for the Northern California requesting a temporary restraining order against Ridenhour to prevent her from filing any additional court documents that may contain confidential material.

Court decision

The Court denies the motion for a TRO to the extent Plaintiff is asking the Court to take action with respect to filings in the Southern District of New York case.

Defendant stated that she is willing to enter into a protective order in the Southern District of New York case. This Court will not intervene or intrude upon that proceeding.

The parties are ordered to meet and confer regarding a protective order in the instant case. A stipulated protective order shall be filed by Wednesday, 8/28/2019.

To the extent Plaintiff is asking the Court to enjoin Plaintiff from making extrajudicial statements, disclosures, etc. the Court defers ruling on the motion for such a TRO.

The parties are ordered to meet and confer to determine whether they can reach an agreement on such, particularly since the Defendant denies making any such prior statements and does not intend to make any such future statements.

If the parties are able to reach agreement, they shall file a stipulation by Wednesday, 8/28/2019, memorializing the terms of the agreement. If no agreement is reached, the parties are to report back by the same date. The Court will then rule on the limited TRO request to report back by the same date. The Court will then rule on the limited TRO request.

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Full court document links available for Wine Executive News Premium Subscribers

  • Judge decision denying Temporary Restraining Order-082319

  • Proposed-Temporary-Restraining-Order-And-Order-To-Show-Cause-Regarding-Preliminary-Injunction-1322660.1-081919

  • Plaintiffs-Ex-Parte-Application-For-Temporary-Restraining-Order-And-Order-To-Show-Cause-Regarding-Preliminary-Injunction-081919

  • Order-Re-Plaintiffs-Ex-Parte-Application-For-Temporary-Restraining-Order-081920

  • Declaration-Of-Keith-J.-Wesley-In-Support-Of-Plaintiff’s-Ex-Parte-Application-For-Temporary-Restraining-Order-And-Order-To-Show-Cause-Regarding-Preliminary-Injunction-081919

  • Declaration-Of-Bettina-Sulser-Bryant-In-Support-Of-Plaintiff’s-Ex-Parte-Application-For-Temporary-Restraining-Order-And-Order-To-Show-Cause-Regarding-Preliminary-Injunction-081919

  • Request-For-Judicial-Notice-In-Support-Of-Plaintiff’s-Ex-Parte-Application-For-Temporary-Restraining-Order-And-Order-To-Show-Cause-Regarding-Preliminary-Injunction-081919

  • Order-Re-Plaintiffs-Ex-Parte-Application-For-Temporary-Restraining-Order-081920