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Monday, June 06, 2016

Local News Brief: Trinidad is Crafty & Erik Bruner-Yang/Toki Legal Faceoff

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Erik Bruner-Yang outside Toki Underground preparing for the 2010 H Street Festival

Get your DIY on at the Trinidad Crafting Salon at Capital Fringe (1358 Florida Avenue) Monday, June 13th from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. You can bring your portable crafting materials, or just come hang out and talk if your particular hobby doesn't travel so well. This Monday's Salon will feature demonstrations of paper marbling and book making. Drinks are available for purchase at the bar. The event itself is free and open to the public.


On June 3rd Erik Bruner-Yang graced the cover of The Washington Business Journal accompanied by the headline "Everyone Wants a Piece of Erik Bruner-Yang." At 2:45 p.m. that same day a lawsuit was filed on his behalf (as well as that of Maketto, LLC) in D.C. Superior Court against Toki Underground and two Toki partners (Praveen Goyal and Jeff Jetten). The Washington City Paper broke the story of the lawsuit, which you can also read about in the Washington Business Journal. There's a link at the bottom of that WBJ story to the case filing, and it is a doozy! The pleading lays out requests for declaratory judgement and injunctive relief, as well as at least $2 million in compensatory and punitive damages. Here's how that breaks down:

  • $1 million 
    • Bruner-Yang against Jettson and Goyal for defamation/defamation per se 
  • $250,000 
    • All plaintiffs against all defendants for tortious interference with business expectancy
  • $250,000
    • Maketto against all defendants for misappropriation of trade secrets
  • $250,000
    • Maketto against all defendants for conversion
  • $250,000
    • Bruner-Yang against all defendants for civil conspiracy
Although the pleading outlines pretty interesting stories and sheds light on when and how things may have gone sour, the prayers for relief focus heavily on a certain MailChimp account. The lawsuit appears to have been prompted in no small part by a May 13th cease and desist/demand letter threatening litigation sent to Bruner-Yang by an attorney on behalf of Toki Underground, LLC (exhibit four to the pleading). 

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Mo money mo problems

Anonymous said...

Sorry to see Erik have problems. He is creative and has worked very hard for his success. H Street has been really lucky to have him. I won't be returning to Toki again after my last visit. His former partners are behaving like bottom feeding parasites.

Anonymous said...

Sad sad sad. I have been going to Toki since it opened, but the last time I went, about a month ago, the food had changed and not for the good. I chalked it up to the new exec chef, but maybe it has something to do with this.

It had been one of the most consistent restaurants in D.C. over time (with Matchbox, also down recently) IMO.

Sad Sad Sad. I would imagine Eric still has an interest in the business even with the suit, so I will prob. go back, but with lowered expectation and not as often.

Chris said...

The Washington Business Journal article is a little more informative than the Washington City Paper article; I finished the City Paper article confused, but the WBJ article cleared things up for me. However, there's a montly article count limit on the WBJ site unless you're paid up with them.