A settlement was announced Monday in a lawsuit involving an intra-family struggle over the Versailles chain of Cuban food restaurants, averting a trial that had been about to get underway in Los Angeles Superior Court.
Orlando Garcia, 84, and his 76-year-old wife, Nora, filed suit last Sept. 5 against their son, William, his wife, Barbara, and CPA Leonard De Los Prados. According to their complaint, the elder Garcias were the owners of the five-restaurant chain.
They alleged they entrusted their son to manage their financial and business affairs because of their limited English-speaking abilities and Orlando’s health problems. Instead, their son and the other defendants allegedly defrauded the couple out of most of their assets, according to their court papers.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Gregory Keosian told a jury scheduled to hearing opening statements in trial of the case Monday morning that the parties were “able to hash out their differences over the weekend.”
Before dismissing the panel, Keosian said the jury’s impanelment on Friday played a positive role in bringing about the settlement because both sides by then had a good incentive to resolve their differences.
The judge, who said he has been to the Versailles chain’s Encino location, said he will now feel more comfortable going there again given that the litigation is over and his impartiality will not come into question. The other Versailles locations are in the Pico-Robertson district of Los Angeles and in Culver City.
The defense attorneys maintained in their court papers that William Garcia started the restaurants and hired his parents to work for him as cooks. They also maintained that William Garcia owned the restaurants — the first of which opened in 1981 — and the assets.
Orlando Garcia, who is confined to a wheelchair, and his son hugged in the courtroom after the settlement was announced. As jurors departed the courtroom, some made comments to the parties.
“I’m glad you guys got it together,” a female juror told William Garcia.