Ohio business sues over name, right of operation

The owners of an East Palestine, Ohio, business have filed suit against a Lisbon business for basically stealing their own subsidiary out from under them.

According to the lawsuit filed by the owner-operators of O. T. Beight and Sons Inc., they purchased the Richardson Monument company in 2012. The day-to-day operations of the monument company were left in the hands of two long-time employees named Wayne and Carly Brock. The Brocks apparently also lived on the company’s property.

In January, however, one of the Beights tried to access the Richardson Monument’s office to inspect the property and he was forcibly driven away by the Brocks. They not only refused Mr. Beight access to the office and prevented him from looking at company records, but they also claimed that they now had their own Tax Identification Number (TIN) from the Internal Revenue Service and were operating the business as their own. When Mr. Beight refused to leave, the Brocks called the police, and Mr. Beight was threatened with arrest.

The legal complications go even deeper, however. The lawsuit alleges that Carly Brock (whose maiden name was Beight) prevented an employee of O.T. Beight and Sons from renewing the company’s “fictitious name registration” permit with the state — the form that allows one company to do business under another’s name. Subsequently, the Brocks filed their own articles of incorporation under Richardson Monuments, Inc.

Hence, the lawsuit. The Beights claim that the Lisbon business is being operated illegally, that the Brocks are misusing their name, credit, real estate and other assets without permission, not paying the required rent and depleting the monument company’s inventory. It also seeks to prohibit the Brocks from using Richardson Monuments or Richardson Monuments Inc. as a business name, among other remedies.

While this may be, essentially, the most hostile of “takeovers” imaginable, disputes between businesses over the right to operate and the use of name happen all the time. It can take an experienced attorney to protect your legal interests.

Categories: Business Litigation