Those Litigious Olivieri’s

patcheesesteak.jpgLooks like the First Family of Philadelphia Cheesesteaks is back in court again. This time, Frank, Jr., now proprietor of Pat’s King of Steaks, is suing cousin Rick Olivieri, the maestro at Rick’s Steaks and self-crowned “Prince of Philly Steaks,” located at the Reading Terminal, over Rick’s allegedly unlawful use of Pat’s “crown” logo. The Philadelphia Inquirer has more of the story here. Seems like there is something about family businesses that spawns litigation. One problem (not implicated in the current Olivieri intra-family scrap) is that the founders of such businesses usually fail to install a proper succession plan. Such issues can be exacerbated where one sibling is not as involved in the family business as the others (the problems that were in larege part the cause of the last round of Olivieri litigation, as chronicled here. Note of disclosure: I was counsel to one of the parties to that particular dispute, which was litigated in the mid-1990’s). These problems need not arise. Proper planning can save a lot of heartache and fees down the road. As for Frank, Jr.’s claims against cousin Rick, there’s really not anything you can do preemptively to stop your cousin from poaching your intellectual property (if that’s what in fact happened), or from wrongly accusing you of doing so (if it didn’t). That’s family stuff. The realm of therapists, not lawyers.

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