Can I sue my wedding venue for closing?

NY Wedding Venue Shuts Doors

Sadly, Brooklyn Wedding Venue reBar closed its doors, leaving several soon-to-be-weds in a lurch. Many of the couples who had already paid their hefty fifty percent deposit of $12,500 (for Saturday events), are currently scrambling to make other arrangements. Some really, really, awesome reBar employees helped execute the weddings and events scheduled for this previous weekend, but time will tell whether alternate arrangements can be made for all the other couples. Meanwhile, the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office is investigating owner Jason Stevens, who allegedly “disappeared into the night” with a bunch of cash.

Criminal Charges vs. Civil Lawsuit

The Criminal Justice System (think Law and Order) and the Civil Justice System (think Judge Judy) are, for the most part, two separate worlds.Quite often, if there was a contract signed by the parties, or some type of service or good to be provided, the fuzz will not get involved.

Businesses fall on hard times. Businesses close. This is a fact of life, and for the most part, the fallout for the business owner will simply be losing a lot of money, dissolving a company, or, more often, a walk to the bankruptcy court. Just because a business has to shut down does NOT necessarily mean that a crime has been committed.

However, sometimes, where there was truly a calculated attempt to defraud multiple persons, both roads may be taken. In other words, the police will make arrests, and civil litigators will file lawsuits for ‘breach of contract.’ Is reBar one of those instances? We’re not quite sure yet.

What Does this Mean for the reBar Couples?

While the district attorney investigates whether to file criminal charges, the couples can most certainly file breach of contract claims (and possibly fraud in the inducement claims) against the venue. But here’s the rub. You can’t squeeze blood from a turnip. That’s southerner for, if the defendant has no money, any judgement against him/her will mean nothing. It’s the sad truth. If this reBar owner-dude cannot be found, or if he files bankruptcy, the chances of theses couples being truly compensated are going to be fairly slim.