Downtown restaurant sues City of Rochester, DMC over construction impact
(ABC 6 News) – A small business in downtown Rochester is suing the City of Rochester and Destination Medical Center claiming the construction on Peace Plaza impacted their business.
Jerk King, along with other restaurants and businesses, say they were forced to close because of the pandemic and with the ongoing construction projects on Peace Plaza.
This particular restaurant was not accessible to the public for months and had to keep its doors closed. Jerk King is now filing a lawsuit saying the city caused them to go out of business.
"My client, Jerk King, was totally unable to conduct any business, including take-out," Attorney William French said.
French says his client, the Jamaican-style restaurant Jerk King, has been struggling to stay in business since the start of the pandemic. the owner says he’s been paying $15,000 a month in rent while his doors were closed to the public.
When dine-in restaurants were allowed to open back up in January, the ongoing construction downtown prevented his business from opening, even for take-out.
"We think that the facts show that it’s almost at the level, or maybe it is at the level, of an intentional interference with his ability to run his business," French said.
The lawsuit lists four counts including the intentional interference with prospective business advantage. Another count includes trespass because construction impacted the sidewalk to the business which is owned by Jerk King.
"I’m at a total loss to understand why they’re so indifferent to this company. It just doesn’t make any sense to me," French said.
French adds that his client is a minority. "There are a lot of small businesses in Rochester and what we’ve been met within this case is just sheer indifference and maybe kind of going into an intentional effort to drive this guy out of business."
A few doors down is another small store, Tangerine. It says the construction has also made business worse, but they remain open. However, the Olde Brick House across the street has had a different experience with construction.
"Being a new restaurant it’s kind of hard to say because we were new I think people were curious about us and so they were willing to overlook the challenges of walking through construction and trying to find a place to park," Jack Krakow, General Manager of Old Brick House in Downtown Rochester, said. "Actually, we experienced new growth as the new plaza reopened, so it was very beneficial for us."
ABC 6 News has reached out to the City of Rochester and we’re told the Mayor is not available for comment at this time.
The lawsuit is seeking a minimum of $50,000 from the City of Rochester and DMC.
French says the next step for Jerk King is to try to get back in business as soon as possible.