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Brennan's Brotherly Battle: Judge Nixes Power Grab

Judge Susie Morgan opted not to further fan the Bananas Foster of a dispute between Brennan brothers in a ruling issued on Friday, but she didn't end the food fight over who controls the family's famed French Quarter restaurant, either. The U.S. District judge waived off a move in April by Owen "Pip" Brennan to take control of the restaurant from his brother Ted, saying that the shareholders meeting where the ouster took place was invalid because it was not properly noticed. Even with the ruling, the future of the restaurant is still blackened with uncertainty.


Morgan's ruling leaves both brothers as equal stockholders in the restaurant, but still leaves the restaurant in control of Ted. Despite holding as many shares as Ted, Pip and his sons are neither directors nor officers of the business, Morgan ruled. 


The most recent slow cooking Brennan's battle has been simmering since Pip agreed to sell his shares in 2010, leaving Ted and his daughter Bridget to run the restauarant. Brennan's was supposed to pay Pip $2 million in installments, but the payments have yet to be fully meted out, so Pip retained his stock. Meanwhile, Ted's shares were seized by a creditor on April 26, and the restaurant building at 417-425 Royal St. is slated to go up for auction at a sheriff's sale on May 23.


With the sheriff's sale imminent, Pip attempted to call a shareholders meeting on April 26 to wrest control of the restaurant from Ted and Bridget. The meeting handed control of the restaurant over to Pip, at which time he paraded into the restauarant announcing that he had taken control, according to court documents. Police had to be called when a standoff ensued as members of the Ted-Bridget faction reufsed to leave. Eventually, the two brothers agreed to allow Ted's son Teddy and Pip's son Blake run the restaurant until the dispute could go before a judge.


Despite Morgan's negation of the results of the shareholders meeting , Pip still retains the power to call a shareholders meeting and attempt to take control from Ted again. However, the dispute wasn't enough of a reason to bar Ted from the restaurant permanently, Morgan ruled.


"At trial, Bridget testified the uncertainty caused by the rift between the two branches of the Brennan family is having a negative effect on the restaurant’s employees but that the restaurant’s operations are running relatively smoothly under the current co-management arrangement," the ruling states. "Feelings of tension amongst employees and animosity amongst adverse litigants do not amount to an irreparable injury."

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