Sweetie Pie’s Founder Sues Her Son For Theft & Trademark Infringement
More sad news for the Sweetie Pie’s family.
Robbie Montgomery, reality TV star and founder of the famous St. Louis restaurant Sweetie Pie’s, has accused her son, James T. Norman, of stealing money and misusing her trademarks to open competing restaurants.
On Tuesday, Miss Robbie filed a lawsuit against James in federal court!
The suit, filed in the Eastern District of Missouri, said that Montgomery discovered last summer that James T. Norman “had been misappropriating Plaintiff’s accounts and funds maintained in connection with his management of” Sweetie Pie’s in The Grove, at 4270 Manchester Ave.
The suit said Norman withdrew “substantial sums of money” from the accounts and used them to open and operate restaurants in North Hollywood, California; Berkeley and Florissant. It also said Norman has refused to return the money.
The suit accuses Norman of violating Sweetie Pie’s trademarks. “Authorized” Sweetie Pie’s locations are located in The Grove and in Dellwood, according to the suit, but TJ’s Sweetie Pie’s Noho (North Hollywood, California), TJ’s Sweetie Pie’s Airport (Berkeley) and Sweetie Pie’s Kitchen (Florissant) are not authorized. Montgomery’s first restaurant, in Dellwood, opened in 1996, and recently reopened. A listed phone number for The Grove restaurant was disconnected Wednesday.
The suit said Norman’s misuse of Sweetie Pie’s marks, registered with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in 2006, impairs Montgomery’s ability to operate her restaurants in the St. Louis area and to open any restaurants in the Los Angeles area.
The suit said that because Montgomery and Norman were featured as family members on “Welcome to Sweetie Pie’s,” an Oprah Winfrey Network reality TV show, there is a further chance of “causing confusion in the market place.”
The suit cited negative online reviews for Norman’s restaurants as having damaged the perception of Montgomery’s.
“‘[Defendant Norman] is gonna ruin his mommas reputation and her business if he doesn’t slow down and recalibrate,’” one review of the California restaurant said, according to the suit.
It seeks a preliminary and permanent injunction prohibiting Norman and two of his entities, Sweetie Pies Hollywood LLC and Sweetie Pies Kitchen LLC, from continuing to use the Sweetie Pie’s marks. The suit, which alleges violations on seven civil counts, also seeks a variety of monetary damages and requests that the infringing domain names be transferred to Sweetie Pie’s or canceled.
In March, the family suffered a devastating loss when Miss Robbie’s grandson, Andre Montgomery was shot and killed.
It’s heartbreaking to know there is more division and infighting.