By JACK WEATHERLY
A legal battle over the use of the name of a highly regarded steakhouse in Ridgeland has been settled.
Scott Koestler, who with his wife, Julie, has operated Shapley’s for 20 years, said in an interview Tuesday that he has has reached a settlement with Mark and Mary Shapley.
The Shapleys filed suit March 7 in the U.S. District Court for Southern Mississippi, arguing that the trademark was not sold along with other assets bought by Scott Koestler in 1998 for $1.69 million.
Koestler said in a March 30 filing that he and his wife do, in fact, own the name.
“We’ve settled with the Shapleys and we’re opening up Koestler Prime in Renaissance in early July,” Koestler said in the interview.
Judge Carlton Reeves on Monday ordered the dismissal of the case, with prejudice, meaning it cannot be brought up again with the same arguments. An earlier version of this article erroneously said that the case could be brought up again.
The Shapleys have already said they intend to take over the steakhouse at 868 Centre St. after the lease with Koestler ends on June 30.
The Shapleys established a website, M+M Shapley’s, with a phone number on it, but the site had only an â€œunder constructionâ€ message on Tuesday and a call to the number was not answered.
Meantime, Nathan McHardy, who worked with the Koestlers at the restaurant for about a decade before he and his wife, Leslie, bought Briarwood Wine and Spirits, 12 years ago, will return as general manager,
“I’m honored and proud to be asked to come back and help the two of them . . . ,” McHardy said in a post on on his Facebook page. “They’ve done an incredible job over the last two decades transforming a successful restaurant into a local and national award winning steakhouse . . . .”
Koestler Prime will be in the space in the Renaissance at Colony Park formerly occupied by a Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse until recently, when that restaurant closed.
“We are very excited to get into the new spot,â€ Koestler said. â€œAll of our employees should be moving there with us.”
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