ST. LOUIS (KMOV.com) -- Attorney Ken Schwartz filed a lawsuit Monday against Das Bevo in South City, accusing the venue of not giving money back to a couple who no longer wants their reception there due to COVID-19 restrictions.
Jacob Lamberth and Caitlin McGrath got engaged in September 2019. A month later, they booked Das Bevo for their reception on October 10, 2020.
They planned to invite 160 people to their wedding, but as coronavirus cases continued rising, they said they reached out to the venue in April to ask about canceling and getting back the $3,500 they already paid.
"They got back to us saying basically we couldn’t because it’s too far out," said McGrath.
Owner of Das Bevo, Pat and Carol Schuchard, said they offered the couple several options including a credit to use for their reception at a later date.
“We’ve offered them extra spaces in the building, we’ve offered them to postpone, we’ve offered them any conceivable combination of things," said Pat. “We’ve spent a tremendous amount of time and money... and holding that date for them for the last year.”
For that reason, Pat said he will not return all of the money.
“There’s nothing in the local law or local ordinances or ordinances coming from the mayor that says they can’t have the wedding now," said Pat.
McGrath and Lamberth said they don't want to ask their out-of-town guests to travel during the pandemic or worry about wearing masks and social distancing.
“There’s no precedent for this so it’s hard to blame people for not having a strict plan but they need to abide by what’s in the contract," said Lamberth. "It's not even about the money, it’s about the principle."
Lamberth and McGrath's attorney, Schwartz, advised any couple struggling to get out of a contract to contact a lawyer. He also said it's important to carefully review the contract.
“Some contracts do have a clause and in the law we call it Force majeure clause which essentially is something that says if some horrible act of God or something out of our control happens we are not liable, this whole contract is basically null and void," said Schwartz.
The Schuchards said the biggest issue is that the couple has not officially canceled their reservation, meaning they are still holding that date for them. The Schuchards said they'll give the couple half of their money back when they cancel the reservation.
Schwartz said the reason they did not cancel the reservation is because that would be considered a breach of contract on their end. He said because he believes legally COVID-19 would be considered an 'act of God' then the contract should be null and void.