NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The owners of the building that housed Tootsie's Orchid Lounge, a legendary honky-tonk frequented in its heyday by country music celebrities, also own the right to the tavern's name, a judge has ruled.
Chancellor Robert S. Brandt ruled Friday that Howard Dodson, son of the late club owner Hattie L. (Tootsie) Bess, lost his right to use the name when he closed the tavern in 1985 and did not renew the trade name registration his mother had filed 10 years earlier.
Dodson filed suit in 1986 charging that the building's owners, Mollye Ashe and her brother, Abe Stein, were illegally using the name of the tavern that his mother had operated there for 25 years.
"What I want is my mother's name back," Dodson said when he filed the suit in Chancery Court.
But Brandt said Ashe and her brother did not invade Dodson's rights by registering the name "World Famous Tootsie's Orchid Lounge" with the secretary of state's office in July, 1985, four months after Dodson closed the club.