Rocky Mountain, Fuzziwig's candy shops' suit settled

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The civil lawsuit filed by Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory, a Durango-based company, against the owners of Fuzziwig's Candy Factory has been settled outside of court.

Jeffrey Cowman, an attorney representing Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory Corporate, said the dispute has been resolved and that the corporation decided to dismiss the legal claims it had asserted against Fuzziwig's owners.

"We amicably resolved the dispute to Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory's satisfaction," Cowman said.

The new Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory store in Steamboat Springs, owned by brothers Brad and Todd Maxwell, was not involved in the suit.

Attorney David Krivit, representing Fuzziwig's owners, Don and Patricia Grueser, said he could not comment. Don Grueser said he was too busy to comment Monday.

Cowman said he could not release any details of the settlement.

Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory's original complaint, filed Dec. 15, alleged the Gruesers broke a non-compete clause in an agreement. The complaint asked the Gruesers to close their two new Steamboat Springs Fuzziwig's stores for at least 47 days to fulfill that agreement and also to pay damages and relief as the court determined.

The Gruesers' court-filed response stated that the agreement in question never was breached.

The Gruesers bought two Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory franchises in Steamboat in 1992 and then also purchased the Fuzziwig's company.

In January 2003, Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory agreed to transfer the Gruesers' Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory stores to a new owner, under the conditions that the Gruesers or business associates not open a competing candy shop within 10 miles of the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory stores for two years after the transfer, according to court records.

For unrelated reasons, the Gruesers had to foreclose on their note with the new Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory shop owners. They then opened two Fuzziwig's stores in December in the two spots that had been home to Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory stores. That, Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory said, violated the transfer agreement.

The Gruesers' court-filed response stated the agreement with the non-compete clause became unenforceable when the owner the Gruesers sold the franchises to defaulted.

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