In an ongoing legal conflict, La Jolla restaurant owner American Pizza Manufacturing has filed a counter-suit against a local resident whom the suit accuses of launching a “continued and ongoing campaign of harassment” against the restaurant while it “defamed” it. [APM and] …interfering unfairly with the business of APM.”
The suit, filed in US District Court on January 3, seeks damages in the amount to be determined at trial.
In November, resident Ajay Thakur, also known as Ice Rogers, filed his own lawsuit in federal court against APM and its owner Andrew Mellon, accusing Mellon of racial harassment, false advertising and a ban on the use of public parking spaces.
Thakur’s lawsuit states that he participated in a “peaceful and orderly protest” against American Pizza Manufacturing and alleges that Melone “threatens and harasss … any person exercising his First Amendment right to protest against American Pizza Manufacturing or to express an opinion about American Pizza Manufacturing, or its business.” or the quality or lack of food quality.”
The court has yet to hear Thakur’s lawsuit, which is seeking $10 million in damages.
Presents American Pizza Manufacturing, which opened in July 2020 at 7402 La Jolla Blvd. Shop assembled pizza for customers to bake at home.
Melone’s suit alleges that as of October 2020, Thakore “verbally harassed APM’s owners, employees, and customers, posted over a hundred negative and false reviews online, and made objectively false and disturbing statements on social media accusing APM, among other things, of mistreatment of animals. and “hate people of color”, paid others through online requests to harass APM” and parked vehicles in front of the company that displayed derogatory messages about “take ‘n’ bake pizza”.
The planes also hovered over the pizzeria and pulled up signs with similar messages, according to the lawsuit.
Mellon’s lawsuit states that “the volume and timing of negative reviews are indicative of a coordinated effort to target the company.” “The falsehood of the comments was made partly apparent by making claims such as APM selling burnt pizza, while the company doesn’t even cook pizza.”
The complaint accuses Thakur, who owns a college-town digital marketing company called Doctor Multimedia, of using social media to encourage people to contact APM and “give their opinion,” with “the first 10 people getting[ting] $100.” Another post offered to pay up to $100 in food from another La Jolla pizzeria, according to the lawsuit.
Thakur, who said he is “of Indian origin from the country of India,” told La Jolla Light That Mellon used racial insults against him and “refused to serve me, and one of his clients kicked my three-legged disabled dog.”
His lawsuit says[Melone] His work discriminates against anyone who appears to be of Arab or Asian descent… as well as against members of the LGBQTIA community.”
Mellon denies the allegations.
Mellon said in a statement to light. “We hope that as the true nature of the events involved is revealed, it will put an end to such behavior targeting APM and other small businesses like ours. In the meantime, we cannot thank the residents of La Jolla enough for their understanding as we are working so hard to resolve this unfortunate matter. We Very proud to be a part of this wonderful community.”
According to Mellon’s lawsuit, the feud between the two began when the city of San Diego converted parking spaces outside the APM into a 15-minute zone, and Thakur was “to park illegally…in public parking spaces for 15 minutes for hours at a time…and… .prolonged in the red zone outside the APM.”
The lawsuit alleges that “Thakur was not happy with the changes to the parking area because they somehow impeded his ability to frequent other commercial establishments in La Jolla.”
Thakur did not immediately respond to requests for further comment.
Mellon’s lawyers declined to comment, and Thakur’s lawyers did not respond to requests. ◆