Man sues attorneys over patent
A Basalt resident is suing the partners of an Aspen law firm, alleging they stole his patent for a retractable top for Jeeps.Dennis Barker’s lawsuit names as defendants Jeff Wertz and Alan Feldman, partners in Allen, Wertz & Feldman, LLP. Also named are five men listed as principals of Barker Top LLC.The lawsuit was filed Friday in district civil court. It says that in January 2000, Barker filed a patent application for the retractable top; it was granted in August 2002.Barker hired Feldman to fight a lawsuit by Barker’s landlord.”On Oct. 1, 2003, while the landlord was in the process of perfecting the judgment against Barker, Feldman told [him] that because the patent was the only asset Barker owned, the landlord would take the patent away,” the lawsuit says.Feldman allegedly set up a new company and had the patent transferred to its control to protect it, the court documents say. Feldman said he and Wertz “would become co-owners of the company, too.””This was the first of many steps taken by Feldman and Wertz to cheat Barker out of his patent,” the lawsuit says.Wertz vehemently denied the allegations when asked for comment.”The claims are a load of crap that will be defended vigorously,” he said.The lawsuit alleges that Feldman and Wertz have “granted themselves exclusive access to [the new company’s] bank account.” Since the company’s inception, Feldman and Wertz have used the company’s funds “to purchase numerous personal items, including haircuts, dry cleaning, personal trips, unexplained payments to themselves and others, and to pay expenses for their law firm,” the lawsuit says.In other court news: A man arrested in the Dec. 2 drug raids in downtown Aspen pleaded guilty to a felony cocaine distribution charge.Edubiel Hernandez-Cruz is the first of 10 suspects to plead guilty to a distribution count. As part of a plea agreement, charges of possession with intent to distribute and conspiracy were dropped.Hernandez-Cruz sold two bindles, or folded pieces of paper containing cocaine, to an undercover police officer at Cooper Street Pier in June, prosecutor Gail Nichols said.He will be sentenced May 1. He could receive four to 12 years in prison. A judge agreed to ban the public from a preliminary hearing in the case of a California man charged with sexual assault on a child.Stephen Harrison, 49, of Ross, Calif., was arrested in San Francisco on Christmas night, after the alleged victim’s mother told police she found him in bed with her 8-year-old daughter. Harrison, his family and the girl’s family were sharing a home they had rented for the holidays near Hunter Creek.The arrest warrant says the families went out to the Caribou Club, but that Harrison left early. The mother said she found him in bed with her daughter when she returned.
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Contact with two presumed positive COVID-19 cases has led to 65 students and staff at Basalt Elementary School transitioning to remote instruction.