Aspen coffee case put on ice |

Aspen coffee case put on ice

ASPEN – A brouhaha between an Aspen coffee shop and an ex-employee won’t be going to trial after all.

Aspen Espresso, which does business as Victoria’s Espresso and Wine Bar, was scheduled to go against Zachary Lockwood in a breach-of-contract trial set for Friday in Pitkin County Court.

But both sides agreed to dismiss the the lawsuit with prejudice, meaning the suit cannot be refiled again by Victoria’s, according to court papers filed last week.

“In my mind both parties were satisifed that the suit was dismissed,” said Edwards attorney Burton Levin, who represented Lockwood.

Victoria’s sued Lockwood in September, after the barista, on his last day of work on Aug. 14, “intentionally attempted to sabotage [the coffee shop’s] espresso machine by turning it off, contrary to all instructions, fully knowing that this would cause the [coffee shop] to miss at least an hour of business the following morning while the machine came back to temperature,” the suit says.

The South Mill Street cafe also sought a restraining order to keep Lockwood from working at other coffee houses in Aspen and the Roaring Fork Valley.

Lockwood, the suit says, signed an agreement that he would not “disclose to any third party any of the techniques, skills or other knowledge that he learnt as part of training” and he would not work as a barista “at any cafe or coffee shop in Aspen or elsewhere in the Roaring Fork Valley for two years after the end of his employment.”

Aspen lawyer John Beatty, who filed the suit, declined to comment, saying the matter had been over-amplified by the press.

Media outlets outside of Aspen picked up on the story. Among their observations:

• ” Court TV producers should make their travel plans to Aspen now.” – Westword

• “In what could potentially be the lawsuit of the century, an Aspen coffee shop is suing a former employee for sabotage, because he turned off the store’s espresso machine. Yes, this is a real lawsuit.” –

• “Drama! There’s few things we hate more than lousy work environments, but it sounds like Victoria’s Espresso and Wine Bar would do well to invest in a La Marzocco. Keep up the nonsense, gang, ‘cos we can write these Aspen headlines ALL DAY.” –

Levin said no money exchanged hands as part of the dimissal. He said Lockwood is free to work where he wants – be it a coffee shop or anywhere else.

“The one thing we gave up by the settling the claim was that we made a claim that the suit was frivolous and they should reimuburse [Lockwood] for attorney’s fees,” he said.

Victoria’s declined, but agreed to dismiss it with prejudice. That was enough for Lockwood, Levin said.

“If somebody’s offering you to drop the case with prejudice, in my mind we have to take it,” he said.

The best thing about not going to trial, Levin said, was that Lockwood “didn’t have to miss a ski day. If he had been sitting in trial he wouldn’t have been able to ski.”

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around Aspen and Snowmass Village make the Aspen Times’ work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.


Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.

User Legend: iconModerator iconTrusted User


See more