John O'Brien Oct. 10, 2013, 5:00am
LOGAN – A lawsuit filed by a moonshine brand bearing the Hatfield and McCoy names that claimed a rival had interfered with its business as it prepares for launch has been settled.
On Sept. 19, Hatfield & McCoy Moonshine, the Drink of Devil Anse Hatfield filed a request for a temporary restraining order against The Legendary Hatfield & McCoy Family Brand in Logan County Circuit Court.
The plaintiff said the defendant had its Facebook page removed, which was done over the use of the name “Hatfield & McCoy.”
The agreement, which led to an Oct. 7 dismissal order, stipulates each moonshine company will not interfere with the other's Facebook page and any possible litigation will be put on hold while the sides try to reach a permanent solution.
Gregory B. Chiartas of Freeman & Chiartas in Charleston said he was planning a multi-count lawsuit against A&E and the History Channel, as well as The Legendary Hatfield & McCoy Family Brand. He called the settlement "a stand-down agreement."
Plans for The Legendary Hatfield & McCoy Family Brand were introduced during a reality TV show that aired on the History Channel called "Hatfields & McCoys: White Lightning."
Chiartas said his client's distillery is in operation and it has received its federal and state permits to manufacture and sell distilled spirits.
"So they're an operating company in Gilbert, W.Va., and they're not going to be intimidated," he said.
No lawsuit over any trademark of the Hatfield and McCoy names has been filed yet. Chiartas argues that no one can claim the names as their property.
“The defendant alleges that the Missouri-based corporation known as ‘The Legendary Hatfield & McCoy Family Brand, LLC’ now owns the name ‘Hatfield & McCoy’ and that all other businesses throughout the country currently using the name are in violation of their trademark,” the complaint said.
“It is interesting to note that the defendant has not received a registration number for this trademark.
“Clearly, the defendant is not attempting to enforce any potential trademark it may have but instead intentionally and in bad faith targeted only the plaintiff for removal because the plaintiff posed a competitive threat.”
According to its website, The Legendary Hatfield & McCoy Family Brand is a white whiskey.
The company’s attorney, April Besl, contacted Facebook and had it remove Hatfield & McCoy Moonshine’s page, the complaint alleged.
Another defendant, Hatfield & McCoy Alliance, was making libelous accusations about the plaintiffs on The Legendary Hatfield & McCoy Family Brand’s Facebook page, the complaint alleged.
Hatfield & McCoy Moonshine sought an order enjoining the defendant from removing its Facebook page, requiring the defendant to contact Facebook to have the page reinstated and prohibiting the defendants from further interference with its business.
From the West Virginia Record: Reach John O'Brien at firstname.lastname@example.org.