Last week, a D.C. District Court judge made the first significant decision in former Riot Act co-owner John Xereas‘ lawsuit against his one-time business partners, Geoffrey Dawson and Marjorie Heiss: He didn’t dismiss the case.
According to court documents filed March 27, Judge Richard Roberts permitted Xereas’ claims of “breach of the implied duty of good faith and fair dealing against Dawson and Heiss, unjust enrichment against [Riot Act] and cyber-squatting against Dawson, Heiss and [Riot Act],” while dismissing claims of “conversion, breach of contract, fraudulent inducement, conspiracy to defraud, tortious interference, and defamation.” This means that the long-gestating lawsuit surrounding the now-defunct comedy club will continue, presumably to trial.
As Washington City Paper reported last July, the Riot Act lawsuit has been heated at times, with both sides lobbing big charges at each other. In short: Xereas, a D.C. comedy mainstay for decades, says that Dawson and Heiss forced him out of the business he helped create. They claim that Xereas was “neither an effective manager nor a reliable partner,” and Dawson estimated that the club was losing $20,000 to $40,000 a month before it closed in late June. (It reopened days later as Penn Social, a “place to play” in the style of Dawson’s other bars, like Bedrock Billiards.)
Xereas tells Washington City Paper that he’s hired a new lawyer—-from a “Top Tier antitrust firm”—-to handle his case. “I look forward to the truth being known and everyone involved being exposed,” he writes.
When reached for comment, Dawson sounded optimistic. “As we all know, the legal process is not terribly swift, but in the end I’m sure we will be just fine. Meanwhile, we have saved the business and most importantly, our investors’ chance of being repaid. And the icing on the cake? We have created a fabulous entertainment venue that far exceeds anything that our flawed comedy model ever brought to the table. Just ask our happy customers.”
Read the ruling after the jump.