Vendors file lawsuit after postponement of Yorktown Countdown

MOUNT PLEASANT, S.C. (WCBD) – A lawsuit was filed on Friday by vendors upset over the last minute ‘postponement’ of the Yorktown Countdown, a New Year’s Eve party held on the USS Yorktown at Patriots Point.

Among the plaintiffs are Robert Patterson of Top Shelf Catering Company and Jefferey Swank of Vidorra Productions (Patterson is also a member of Vidorra Productions).

The plaintiffs entered into an agreement with the Patriots Point Development Authority (PPDA) — named as the defendant — on December 17, 2020. The contract was drafted by the PPDA and agreed to rent out the Yorktown for the event.

On December 30, one day before the event, the PPDA met and decided that due to rising COVID-19 cases.

The plaintiffs allege that the PPDA unlawfully postponed the event, based on the agreement put forth in the contract signed by both parties:

“The Contract Defendant drafted does not contain a force majeure clause, or any express provision which gave Defendant the legal right to postpone or cancel the NYE Countdown event for any reason, including but not limited to, a reason related to COVID-19. If postponement or cancellation was a possibility, Defendant should have so provided in the Contract it drafted.”

Likewise, the plaintiffs expressed concern over events immediately before and after the cancellation. According to court records, the plaintiffs were asked to make a final payment on the morning of December 30. Although the payment was not yet due, the plaintiffs complied. Hours later, the event was postponed.

The plaintiffs say that they learned of the postponement “through the grapevine” after it was reported by the media, and were not directly notified by the PPDA.

The last-minute decision caused damages, according to the plaintiffs, who say that “irreversible actions involving perishable goods, and services in fact provided by employees and third parties, had already significantly taken place.”

Moreover, 1,000 non-refundable tickets had already been sold.

The plaintiffs argue that citing COVID-19 concerns as the reason for the postponement is insufficient, as “the 1,000 person event was not prohibited by any local, state, or federal regulations, or by any non-binding guidance, in effect at the time the Contract was entered into, and/or in effect as of the date of postponement or cancellation.”

Additionally, the contract had a “COVID-19 action plan,” and the crowd size was approved prior to the event.

As a result, the plaintiffs are seeking:

  • All actual, special, incidental, and consequential damages which follow as natural consequence and a proximate result of such breach in an amount to be determined by the trier of facts.
  • All actual, special, incidental, and consequential damages which follow as a natural consequence and a proximate result of justifiable reliance on Defendant’s unambiguous promise in an amount to be determined by the trier.
  • A trial by jury
  • Pre-judgment interest
  • Attorney’s fees
  • The costs and disbursements of this action
  • Such other and further relief as the Court may deem just and proper

News 2 reached out to Mount Pleasant Mayor Will Haynie, a member of the PPDA, who declined to comment due to pending litigation.