A lawsuit against the Santa Rosa Original Certified Farmers Market, filed by a former vendor who is now part of a competing market, has been settled.
Both parties in the lawsuit said they settled because they could not afford to continue the legal battle.
"We simply could not afford the $70,000 to see this thing go to trial," said Nancy Prebilich, co-owner of Gleason Ranch of Bodega, which sued the market in 2011 claiming that she suffered retaliation because of criticism of market management.
Gleason is now a vendor with the new Redwood Empire Farmers Market, which operates at the Santa Rosa Veterans Memorial Hall and has grown to 90 vendors.
The Certified Farmers Market relocated from the vet's hall to a site next to the Wells Fargo Center for the Arts after county officials terminated its lease at the veterans' building over a rent dispute.
The Original Certified Farmers Market representatives say they were unfairly forced out of their longtime location. The market also has about 90 vendors.
Lesley Brabyn, secretary of the Original Certified Farmers Market, said the market agreed to pay $6,000 to settle the case, even though many of the market's board members resisted paying any sum. Also, two other parties named in the lawsuit, Paula Downing, manager of the Original Certified Farmers Market, and the Sonoma County Farmers Market Association each agreed to pay $12,000 to settle the case.
The settlement also stipulates that both sides must "stay away" from each other's market operations.
"The biggest fear for us is that it was going to go on and on and on," Brabyn said, speaking for the Original Certified Farmers Market. "The $6,000 was a small price for us to pay to keep them from harassing our vendors and customers."
You can reach Staff Writer Martin Espinoza at 521-5213 or firstname.lastname@example.org.