NEW YORK — A New York federal judge on March 30 granted two motions to dismiss an ex-franchisee of a financial service company’s lawsuit against the company and a New York district attorney, saying that the claims are time-barred (Jennifer S. Wilkov v. Ameriprise Financial Services Inc., et al., No. 15-cv-7937, S.D. N.Y., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 47963).
NEW YORK — A Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on April 12 affirmed a New York federal judge’s ruling that drivers of black cars in New York City who own or rent franchises are independent contractors, not employees, because the franchisors exert little control over the day-to-day operation of their businesses (Mazhar Saleem, et al. v. Corporate Transportation Group Ltd., No. 15-88, 2nd Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 6305).
INDIANAPOLIS — An Indiana federal judge on March 24 granted summary judgment in favor of a former home health care franchisee, saying the franchisor wrongfully terminated a franchise agreement without notice and an opportunity to cure and that the franchise agreement’s covenant not to compete was not violated because the former franchisee is not a competitor of the franchisor (Elder Care Providers of Indiana Inc. v. Home Instead Inc., et al., No. 1:14-cv-01894, S.D. Ind., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 42792).
NEW YORK — A New York appeals panel on Oct. 13 ruled that a state justice properly denied a hotel franchisor’s motion for summary judgment in a premises liability action as premature, saying that a plaintiff is entitled to discovery of issues related to the franchisor’s possible agency relationship with a hotel where her slip-and-fall injury occurred (Gloria Stern v. Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide Inc., No. 3690, 108672/11, N.Y. Sup., App. Div., 1st Dept., 2017 N.Y. App. Div. LEXIS 2793).
CHICAGO — An Illinois federal judge on April 19 granted Hyatt Franchising LLC’s motion to confirm a more than $7.7 million arbitration award entered against a former franchisee, saying the arbitrator vigorously reviewed a franchise agreement and did not commit misconduct or disregard of the law and that there were no public policy reasons giving the court the authority to overturn the award (Hyatt Franchising LLC v. Shen Zhen New World I LLC, et al., No. 16-cv-8306, N.D. Ill. Eastern Div., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 59455).
CHICAGO — An Illinois federal judge on April 12 granted summary judgment to a restaurant franchisor on a man’s claim that it discriminated against him by purchasing a restaurant he wanted to buy from a retiring franchisee in 2012, saying the claim is time-barred (Curtis Rowe, et al. v. Checkers Drive-In Restaurant Inc., No. 16-cv-9917, N.D. Ill., Eastern Div., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 55692).
CHICAGO — An Illinois appeals panel on March 24 reversed a county judge’s dismissal of an apparent agency claim against a pet hospital franchisor, saying the plaintiff presented enough evidence to raise a question of material fact as to whether the franchisor held out a veterinarian as its apparent agent for the veterinary medical treatment a woman’s pet cat received (Tamela Bangs v. Medical Management International Inc., et al., Nos. 1-15-34890, 1-16-0258 [cons.], Ill. App., 1st Dist., 5th Div., 2017 Ill. App. Unpub. LEXIS 599).
NEW HAVEN, Conn. — A Connecticut federal judge on April 13 denied a petition to compel arbitration in a dispute over transfer of franchise agreements for two Subway sandwich shops as part of a divorce settlement, saying the matter is presently being considered by a Virginia federal court (Doctor’s Associates Inc. v. Kamaljit Nijjar, No. 3:16-cv-1944, D. Conn., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 56594).
CLEVELAND — A declaratory judgment plaintiff-franchisee prevailed in part on its request for summary judgment on April 12, when an Ohio federal judge agreed that there is no direct evidence that it infringed copyrighted architectural works and that the copyright owner failed to demonstrate substantial similarity (Robert L. Stark Enterprises Inc. v. Neptune Design Group LLC, No. 16-264, N.D. Ohio; 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 55951).
NEWARK, N.J. — A New Jersey federal judge on March 29 granted a motion for summary judgment and awarded a lodging franchisor more than $161,000 in its lawsuit against a franchisee who stopped operating a Knights Inn lodging facility in violation of a franchise agreement (Knights Franchise Systems Inc. v. First Value RC LLC, et al., No. 13-4976, D. N.J., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 46387).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — In an April 5 letter to the House Appropriations Committee, 56 bipartisan members of the U.S. House of Representatives call on committee leaders to include a joint employer policy provision in the Fiscal Year 2018 Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies Appropriations Bill that would put a temporary hold for the upcoming fiscal year on the National Labor Relations Board’s new joint employer standard.
OAKLAND, Calif. — A California federal judge on April 5 denied a massage parlor franchisor’s motion for judgment on the pleadings or to strike class action allegations in a case in which franchise members claim that they were charged fees above those in the membership agreements they signed, saying the plaintiffs’ claims are not barred by previous court actions and settlement agreements (Baerbel McKinney-Drobnis, et al. v. Massage Envy Franchising LLC, No. 4:116-cv-06450, N.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 52165).
NEW YORK — In an oral ruling, a New York federal judge on March 29 denied a motion for conditional certification of a nationwide class of Papa John’s delivery drivers that would have included drivers at corporate-owned stores and stores operated by franchisees for lack of commonality, according to the court docket (William Durling, et al. v. Papa John’s International, Inc., No. 16-3592, S.D. N.Y.).
INDIANAPOLIS — An Indiana federal judge on April 5 adopted a magistrate judge’s recommendation and extended a preliminary injunction against a woman who allegedly began operating a competing fitness business using a fitness franchisor’s trademarks, logos and confidential information, saying that she failed to show that the order was clearly in error (Get in Shape Franchise Inc. v. TFL Fishers LLC, et al., No. 1:16-cv-01374, S.D. Ind., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 51626).
RENO, Nev. — A Nevada federal judge on March 27 dismissed antitrust and commerce clause claims in a dispute in which a recycling company alleges that the city of Reno and three waste haulers entered into an exclusive franchise agreement limiting completion for the collection of recyclable materials, saying the claims “fall short” (Green Solutions Recycling LLC v. Refuse Inc., et al., No. 3:16-cv-00334, D. Nev., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 44481).
NEWARK, N.J. — A New Jersey federal judge on April 3 granted Howard Johnson International Inc.’s (HJI) unopposed motion for summary judgment on breach of contract, breach of guarantee and Lanham Act claims against a franchisee, saying the franchisee did not provide any information refuting HJI’s claims (Howard Johnson International Inc. v. SSR Inc., et al., No. 14-4611, D. N.J., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 51109).
CHICAGO — An Illinois federal judge on March 29 denied both plaintiff and defense motions for summary judgment in a breach of contract and Lanham Act case, saying there is a question of whether the correct corporate entity has been named as the defendant (Noble Roman’s Inc. v. B&MP LLC, et al., No. 15-cv-9446, N.D. Ill., Eastern Div., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 46861).
ATLANTA — An 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on March 29 affirmed summary judgment in favor of a delicatessen in a lawsuit in which a restaurant chain franchisor said the deli’s name infringed on its registered service mark, saying the complaint was barred by laches (Groucho’s Franchise Systems LLC v. Grouchy’s Deli Inc., No. 16-16279, 11th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 5437).
OMAHA, Neb. — A package delivery service independent contractor who sued the package delivery company after it terminated his contract failed to show that he was a franchisee or that the company committed any other violations, including breach of contract and fraud, an Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled Feb. 17 (Mark Neubauer, et al. v. FedEx Corporation, et al., No. 15-3694, 8th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 2788).
ST. LOUIS — Parties in a dispute over whether a telecommunications provider is required to obtain a cable franchise before constructing a fiber network in Iowa City, Iowa, have filed briefs with the Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals debating whether state and federal laws require such a franchise (MCC Iowa LLC d/b/a Mediacom v. The City of Iowa City, et al., No. 16-3696, 8th Cir.).