It was smiles all round today in Dewlish as a jubilant Ms Shelley-Lulette Sizemore and her legal team emerged from the Dorset Court of Appeal having won their battle to overturn an earlier decision by the Dorset High Court and thereby to force - at last - the Cheap'n'Cheerful Burger Company [Kingston Russell] to cease using the name and branding of their Shelley-Lulette's All American Diner Grill chain "with immediate effect".
Late last year, Ms Sizemore's lawyers - Threadbone Threadbone and Threadbone - had failed in their efforts to close down the chain. They had contended that the use of a name and an image "integral to Ms Sizemore's identity and persona" was illegal and that "it gave the impression that Ms Sizemore herself was either the owner or the endorser or both, of the low-class provender purveyor" adding that "that any such association was deleterious to her reputation and standing in the community". Their lawsuit had further contended that Ms Sizemore's endangered reputation and good-standing had been built over many years and was sustained by her good character, fine-bearing and well-attested occasional charity work".
In that earlier ruling and in finding for the defendants the Cheap'n'Cheerful Burger Company [Kingston Russell], Mr Justice Finga-Wagga [Presiding] had said that the name Shelley-Lulette was not itself subject to copyright, that the image used in the branding "looked nothing like the serene Ms Sizemore" and that no-one in their right mind would associate the great lady with establishments which were little better than greasy spoons - and very greasy spoons at that". In his memorable summing up he had argued that members of the jury should ask themselves "whether the woman standing before you who has brought this action looks like the kind of woman who would enter, let alone finance a place of such filth and degradation, the kind of place no gentleman would expect his dear wife or mother-in-law to dine in and which no housewife with an ounce of self-respect for her lowly yet not dishonourable status would deign to patronise". "No", he concluded "I put it to you - though it is, of course, a matter entirely for you to decide - that any assumption of association would be inappropriate, improper and hateful".
Whilst accepting some of the force of Mr Justice Finga-Wagga's arguments, Ms Sizemore lawyers had always contended that there were those - "uneducated, unthinking and probably of the type that bought their own furniture" - who might nonetheless make the heinous and personally damaging mistake of thinking that Ms Sizemore was in some way connected to and profiting from the low-grade enterprise. They had vowed to continue pursuit of their case to the highest levels.
The Cheap'n'Cheerful Burger Company has 12 Shelley-Lulette's All American Diner Grill outlets currently in operation.
Arguing today in the Court of Appeal, Ms Sizemore's barrister No-Wynne Knowffee QC said that the earlier High Court decision should be set aside, not least on the basis of new evidence that "Joe Public" was incapable of nuanced judgement wherever and whenever a big whopper was involved. After retiring to his chambers for less than 10 minutes to partake of a Cheap'n'Cheerful Burger Company Big Chicken Breakfast ["All the breast a man can handle"] Lord Chief Justice Backe-Hännder said he was "inclined to agree".
The Cheap'n'Cheerful Burger Company has launched a 12 for 1 offer until midnight tonight, after which its doors will close. It will reopen all outlets on 22nd July as Backe-Hännder's Bar and Eats.