Escobar Family Files $5 Million Federal Lawsuit Against Aspen Businesses

Pablo Emilio Escobar Gaviria was a Colombian drug lord and narcoterrorist who was the founder and sole leader of the Medellín Cartel. Escobar was the wealthiest criminal in history, having amassed an estimated net worth of US $30 billion by the time of his death——while his drug cartel monopolized the cocaine trade into the United States in the 1980s and 1990s.

And now Escobar’s family company has leveled a $5 million federal lawsuit against a trio of Aspen businesses named after Colombia’s “King of Cocaine.”

Escobar Inc., which was founded by the late drug lord’s brother Roberto, is suing Ryan Chadwick and three limited liability companies he controls: Barwest Group, which does business as the Escobar Aspen nightclub downtown; Escobar Spirits, which sells Escobar Vodka; and Escobar Aspen. The suit was filed Monday in the U.S. District Court of Denver.

“We don’t like going to court but the reality of the situation is we own the Pablo Escobar name and nobody else can use it,” Gustafsson said. “And it’s going to be pretty hard for them to prove that they can use it in a court of law.”

Contacted Tuesday, Chadwick said Escobar Inc. has a questionable business history and he has no plans to stop using the Escobar name despite the court action.

“We’re going to protect what is ours and what we started 10 years ago,” he said. “And all I have to say is, ‘Look at Escobar Inc. and the people who are behind it.’”

Chadwick’s products, such as its Escobar Vodka, T-shirts and related products, are creating confusion in the marketplace, Escobar Inc. argued.

“Alcoholic beverages are a natural area of expansion for Petitioner’s brand,” the petition said. “In fact, Petitioner is in discussions with a French company to license the Pablo Escobar name for alcoholic beverages, who would also sell in the United States.”

“Pablo Escobar is regarded as one the greatest heroic outlaws of all time by many in Colombia and all over the world,” the suit says. “Moreover, Escobar’s life has been the subject of numerous books, films and television shows. Throughout his life, Escobar was responsible for the construction of houses and football fields in western Colombia for the poor.”

Normally you wouldn’t think the brand of a deadly criminal would turn into a legal battle and yet here we are. More proof that if there’s money to be made on it, people are going to fight about it in court. And when those disputes negatively affect YOU and YOUR business, including contract issues, landlord/tenant matters, nuisance ADA claims and even collections, call in the good guy business litigator Dean Sperling to resolve YOUR matter with YOUR best interests in mind! 

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