Beach bar owners win lawsuit over their Mullet Bay business | THE DAILY HERALD

PHILIPSBURG–After what they said were “years of harassment, bullying and sabotage,” permit holders David and Leopold York of Daleo’s beach/snack bar in Mullet Bay managed to put a stop to what they called the “underhanded tactics” displayed by the owner of Mullet Bay Beach Resort Sun Resorts NV and its representative Clarence Derby. On June 26, the Court of First Instance forbade Sun Resorts to take any action to prevent the Yorks from operating their beach bar.

The bar operators sounded the alarm in The Daily Herald in January, alleging that despite having the necessary vending licence to operate their business, they suffered years of attacks from the resort, reaching a culmination after the passing of Hurricane Irma in September last year.

They said three weeks after the hurricane, as the curfew was lifted, they and their employees spent hours clearing a path and cleaning the area surrounding the bar. They returned the next morning to find the concrete platform of the business, which had been intact the day before, in shambles. They said the work had been carried out under Derby’s direction.

The snack bar, in existence for more than 20 years, was opened by the two local entrepreneurs after losing their jobs when the resort closed in 1995 after the passing of Hurricane Luis, along with two of their original employees and a local staff that has fluctuated up to nine persons over the years.

The pair said they have provided food and light-alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, and umbrellas and beach chair services to thousands of guests at the beach, tourists and locals alike.

The Yorks were granted a licence to operate in 1997 and hold a permanent licence since 2007. As they felt their business was being thwarted, they said they had no choice but to hire a lawyer and file a court case to seek an injunction against the resort.
In the injunction, they also filed for US $9,988 in damages for the destroyed platform, and for loss of business.

The Judge established that Sun Resorts had acted illegally in removing the partially- rebuilt beach bar and its foundation and ordered the resort to pay $2,000 in damages.
Sun Resorts’ argument that it is the legitimate owner of the beach and that the Yorks were violating their right of ownership in exploiting a beach bar on their property was dismissed, as, according to the Civil Code, the beaches are property of Country St. Maarten.

The Court said that Sun Resorts had failed to prove ownership of the beach and that it had failed to prove that the Yorks had acted in violation of any stipulation in the licence.
The request to award damages for loss of income was dismissed as the beach bar operators had failed to substantiate their claim. Sun Resorts had said the loss of income may have been caused by the fact that after the hurricane the beach bar, which was still in operation, was less frequently visited by tourists.

The imposition of a ban on hindering the Yorks in the exploitation of their business was not deemed necessary. The Judge also refrained from imposing a penalty.

Source: The Daily Herald