The judge and the receiver in the Tony Packo's Inc. case were ordered by a state appellate court Friday to respond to an appeal by Packo's co-owner Robin Horvath.
Ohio's 6th District Court of Appeals gave Lucas County Common Pleas Judge Gene Zmuda and receiver Steven Skutch until Feb. 10 to choose one of three options for their response. They either can agree with Mr. Horvath's appeal, file a response to his appeal, or make a motion to dismiss it altogether.
Judge Zmuda and Mr. Skutch were served Friday with an "alternative writ" issued late Thursday by the appellate court, which is in Toledo. Judge Zmuda and Mr. Skutch both declined to comment.
Mr. Horvath owns half of the Packo's chain, which is in the process of a court-ordered sale to TP Foods LLC, a company owned by Toledo fast-food businessman Bob Bennett. Mr. Horvath's appeal contests orders issued on Dec. 7, 19, and 22 by Judge Zmuda relating to the sale to TP Foods, which has said it can complete the purchase of Packo's by the end of February.
The Dec. 9 order confirmed that all intellectual property, trademarks, and recipes used by Packo's belong to the corporation, which has been under Mr. Skutch's control since the court put the Toledo restaurant chain into receivership in August, 2010.
Judge Zmuda's Dec. 19 order grants Mr. Skutch the authority to sell the chain, and the Dec. 22 order confirms the sale of Packo's to TP Foods.
Mr. Horvath had sought from the appellate court an order prohibiting the judge from making any further decisions that would interfere with the higher court's ability to block or reverse the sale, should his appeal be upheld.
Instead, the appeals court issued its alternative order with the three options for Judge Zmuda and Mr. Skutch.
Mr. Horvath has objected to the sale of Packo's and earlier made his own bid to buy the company under a court-ordered bidding process. Mr. Bennett's bid was selected by Judge Zmuda as the best offer.+