HOUSTON – Residents who had filed a lawsuit against a popular local restaurant named Turkey Leg Hut dropped their case just two weeks after AZA lawyers put up an aggressive defense on behalf of the restaurant owners.
The lawsuit had alleged health problems from barbecue pit smoke. But AZA lawyers discovered emails that showed the residents’ real goal was simply to get the establishment out of the neighborhood. AZA was hired by Turkey Leg Hut on Nov. 22, and by Dec. 6, the suing residents withdrew their suit.
AZA also succeeded in getting the neighbors’ temporary injunction largely dissolved (down from 14 days to two days) and in forcing them to pay $24,000 for the bond, rather than just $500. AZA also filed a request that if the suing neighbors lost their suit, they would have to pay the restaurant’s legal fees.
“From the moment we were engaged, we suspected this was not about smoke, but rather about forcing Turkey Leg Hut out of its location,” AZA partner Jane Robinson told the Houston Chronicle in an article headlined “Residents drop lawsuit against Turkey Leg Hut.”
“We were not about to let that happen,” she said. “We are pleased that these neighbors have elected to drop the suit quickly and proud to have had the opportunity to fight for Turkey Leg Hut.”
The neighbors had won the restraining order limiting the restaurant’s cooking times just before Thanksgiving. AZA soon got the order vacated to protect the restaurant’s business at a time when turkeys are in high demand.
Ms. Robinson was assisted on the case by partner John Zavitsanos and associates Kelsi Stayart White, Sammy Ford IV and Crystal V. Venning.
Turkey Leg Hut is in a historically black neighborhood, and the Chronicle described the litigation as a proxy for the war over gentrification: “‘Noxious’ smoke v. ‘colonizers and gentrifiers.’ How the Turkey Leg Hut lawsuit fits into Third Ward socioeconomic clash.”
The tale of the attack on Turkey Leg Hut and AZA’s quick success in getting the lawsuit dropped was heavily covered in Houston media.
AZA, or Ahmad, Zavitsanos, Anaipakos, Alavi & Mensing P.C., is a Houston-based law firm that is home to true courtroom lawyers with a formidable track record in complex commercial litigation, including energy, intellectual property and business dispute cases. AZA is recognized by Chambers USA 2019 among the best in Texas commercial law; by U.S. News – Best Lawyers’ Best Law Firms as one of the country’s best commercial litigation firms for eight years running; was named 2019 Litigation Department of the Year by Texas Lawyer; and was previously dubbed by Law360 a Texas Powerhouse law firm. National corporate counsel named AZA one of the country’s best in client service among law firms serving the Fortune 500 and 1000.