Cos Bar, ex-employee settle trade secrets suit
Aspen’s spa wars have cooled off.
Last week, Pitkin County District Judge Gail Nichols dismissed Cos Bar’s lawsuit against Elizabeth McGuire, a former employee accused of stealing the luxury cosmetic boutique’s client list to boost her own business.
The case was settled on confidential terms, and neither side had much to say publicly about the agreement.
“I simply cannot disclose the terms of that agreement by mutual agreement of the parties,” said Cos Bar attorney Chris Bryan of Garfield & Hecht PC. “It’s in everyone’s best interests they settled, and I think everybody wishes everybody else good luck.”
McGuire had argued she had built a stable of business over the years and was rightfully entitled to contact the clients for her new place of employment, Ultimate Salon. Cos Bar argued she had stolen trade secrets from the business that owner Lily Garfield founded in 1976.
McGuire no longer works at Ultimate Salon, she said. Her departure was not related to the Cos Bar litigation, she said.
“Unfortunately, I can’t talk about anything to do with the case,” she said, noting that she’ll be back in business this summer, “but I’m not sure where I’ll be.”
A May 21 motion filed by McGuire’s attorney, James Fosnaught of Karp Neu Hanlon PC, said they had agreed to continue the temporary restraining order that Nichols entered in April. The restraining order means McGuire can’t reach out to her former clients of Cos Bar. Cos Bar clients, however, can reach out to McGuire, the judge’s order said.
Fosnaught’s motion said each side was striving toward a settlement “rather than incurring fees and costs” to prepare for future court hearings.
Cos Bar sued McGuire on April 2, claiming she used the client database of the luxury cosmetics boutique, which also offers spa-type services. The suit came after McGuire sent blast texts and emails in March to her former Cos Bar customers, which constituted stealing the boutique’s trade secrets, the lawsuit alleged.
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