'I am very pleased with the court's ruling and was always confident that, once presented with the facts, the judge would rule in favor of my steakhouse in Beverly Hills,' said Wolfgang Zwiener. 'I hope that Puck and I can now focus on our culinary skills instead of this unfortunate lawsuit.'
In 2007, Puck and Wolfgang Zwiener entered into a mutual agreement, which allowed Wolfgang Zwiener to continue to use the name Wolfgang's Steakhouse for his fine dining establishments in New York, New York. The agreement specifically allowed Wolfgang Zwiener to call his steakhouses outside New York Wolfgang's Steakhouse by Wolfgang Zwiener. Wolfgang Zwiener chose Beverly Hills, California for his first steakhouse outside New York in response to the demand for an old-fashioned quality steakhouse in LA and the interest of the City of Beverly Hills. The development process for the steakhouse was publicly conducted and featured the direct and extensive involvement of the Beverly Hills City Council, which selected Zwiener's steakhouse to fill a commercial space owned by the City and even approved the signage. In May 2008, Wolfgang's Steakhouse by Wolfgang Zwiener opened in Beverly Hills to a star-studded crowd. Two weeks after the opening, Puck filed suit against Wolfgang Zwiener claiming that some of his patrons had been confused. Shortly thereafter, Wolfgang Zwiener filed a countersuit against Puck for breaching their agreement and refusing to meet with Wolfgang Zwiener to discuss ways to address Puck's allegations of confusion.
Wolfgang Zwiener's attorney, Joel Schmidt, a partner at Cowan, Liebowitz and Latman, stated: 'The Court recognized that my client had an absolute right to expand into Beverly Hills under the agreement with Puck and that the facts did not support Puck's attempts to cast a cloud over my client's excellent reputation and legitimate business motives.' The Court's decision specifically states, 'Puck's subjective beliefs as to Zwiener's alleged bad faith, moreover, have no bearing on the enforceability of the 2007 Settlement Agreement, which is clear on its face and provides for Zwiener's use of the current name for his restaurant.' Peter Zwiener, Wolfgang Zwiener's son, stated: 'We have great respect for Mr. Puck and his achievements and hope the Court's decision will foster better relations between our organizations. At the end of the day, we both have the same goal of serving fine food to our patrons.'
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