SAN FRANCISCO (CN) – A federal judge Wednesday dismissed a class action accusing the owner of a chic San Francisco music and event space of defrauding clients of hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Tibor Szabo, owner of Hayes Valley’s Salle Piano & Events, was sued last October by Matthew Figures and Colleen Devlin in a class action that claimed Szabo solicited deposits for pianos that did not exist or never were delivered, and did not issue refunds.
U.S. District Judge James Donato dismissed the complaint in its entirety on Jan. 7 hearing, according to the court reporter’s notes on the hearing.
Donato found the complaint “wholly lacking in explaining the ‘who, what when, where and how’ details required” in a fraud case, according to the court minutes. The judge was also concerned about whether the case adequately argued its racketeering claims
Timothy Rumberger, the attorney who filed the complaint for the plaintiffs, did not appear at the hearing, according to the court reporter’s minutes.
Donato ordered Rumberger on Jan. 8 to “show cause in writing why the court should not impose monetary sanctions … for counsel’s failure to appear.”
Szabo emphasized this development in an interview Thursday.
“They didn’t even show up,” Szabo said. “Clearly none of these things are founded, and they’re accusing me of all these horrid things.”
Szabo called the lawsuit “deeply personal,” tying the case to one he filed nearly three years ago in San Francisco Superior Court. Rumberger had represented the target of Szabo’s previous lawsuit, Henry Laughlin, and that individual was also mentioned in, but not a party to, the more recent complaint Rumberger’s clients filed against Szabo.
Rumberger has not returned phone calls seeking comment.
Salle Piano & Events has a glowing 4.5 stars on Yelp, though there are some scathing reviews. Szabo has been sued several times, according to Courthouse News and San Francisco Superior Court records.
Judge Donato gave the plaintiffs until Jan. 21 to file an amended complaint.
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