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Suit against Streetsboro resident McClafferty over Pulp Smoothie sale dropped, with plans to refile

'procedural Technicality' cited as reason for move; plAINTIFF PLANS TO REFILE, SAYS ATTORNEY

by Bob Gaetjens | Editor Published: December 12, 2012 12:00 AM

Streetsboro -- A suit by Canton businessman Chris Muraco against Mac & Mac Properties Inc., of which Streetsboro resident Brett McClafferty is a principal, was voluntarily dismissed by Muraco's attorney Dec. 3, one day before the matter was to go to trial.

But Muraco's attorney, Brad Barmen, says there are plans to refile the action after addressing what he called a "procedural technicality."

The 2011 case between C.P. Muraco Enterprises and Mac & Mac Properties Inc., which McClafferty and his father own, alleges, when McClafferty was selling the business to Muraco, the younger McClafferty asked the vendor who serviced the computerized sales system to delete all historical sales information from that system and got the original franchise owner to sign a non-disclosure agreement, preventing him from telling Muraco what his sales figures were.

McClafferty denied the allegations of changing the sales figures in 2011 and still denies them.

"The mountain of evidence [presented by McClafferty's attorney Greg Rufo] was just overwhelming," he said in a Dec. 6 interview. "In my opinion, [Muraco and his attortney] had no choice by to do a voluntary dismissal."

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McClafferty also said Muraco's case would have to be stronger if it's refiled.

"If he's going to refile it, he better bring a lot more evidence than the first time around," he said.

In the initial complaint, Muraco sought to reverse the sale of Pulp Smoothie, demanding McClafferty return the $170,000, which was the approximate price of the sale, plus interest, along with $25,000 in punitive damages and attorney's fees.

In a Dec. 3 brief, Brad Barmen, Muraco's attorney, said McClafferty and his counsel argued in a Nov. 28 motion the plaintiff "lacks standing to assert its fraud claim."

The plaintiff in the case is C.P. Muraco Enterprises P.S.P. Barmen said McClafferty's attorney, Greg Rufo, argued it didn't exist at the time of the purchase and therefore lacks the ability to file a legal complaint.

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"What they raised was purely a procedural technicality," said Barmen, adding Muraco plans to file a second legal complaint with all the same allegations with Muraco himself being the plaintiff.

Barmen claims the Nov. 28 motion is just a delaying tactic, meant to put off the trial.

"On Nov. 28, 20 months after [the] plaintiff's original complaint was filed and less than a week before trial, [the] defendant's motion asserts -- for the first time in the course of this litigation -- that the court lacks subject matter jurisdiction to adjudicate and [the] plaintiff lacks standing to assert its fraud claim," states the brief.

McClafferty called the legal action a "case of buyer's remorse."

"My belief is that this gentleman, for whatever reason, wanted out of the deal and saw an opportunity when I was running for mayor to bring this frivolous lawsuit in hopes I would want to make it go away, regardless of its merit," he said. "He was sadly mistaken. If somebody wants to make false accusations, I'm not going to settle with them."

In 2011, McClafferty ran for Streetsboro mayor, losing to Mayor Glenn Broska.

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