OMAHA, Neb. — A Nebraska federal judge on March 17 denied a security consulting franchisor’s motion for a preliminary injunction, saying that the franchisor has offered little evidence that a former franchisee is causing it irreparable harm by operating a security business within its former territory (Colorado Security Consultants LLC v. Signal 88 Franchise Group Inc., No. 8:16-cv-439, D. Neb., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 38803).
CHICAGO — An Illinois federal judge on March 22 granted summary judgment to Fantastic Sams Franchise Corp. (FSF) in a breach of contract action against franchisees for breaching two salon license agreements (SLAs) with FSF because the franchisees never filed a response to FSF’s motion for summary judgment (Fantastic Sams Franchise Corp. v. Pstevo LLC, et al., No. 15-cv-3008, N.D. Ill., Eastern Div., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 40846).
SAN FRANCISCO — A California federal judge on March 10 granted McDonald’s Corp.’s second motion for summary judgment in a wage-and-hour putative class action brought by a franchisee’s workers, again finding that McDonald’s Corp. does not exercise control over the plaintiffs’ wages, hours or working conditions (Guadalupe Salazar, et al. v. McDonald’s Corp., et al., No. 3:14-cv-02096, N.D. Calif.; 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 34886).
NEW YORK — A New York federal judge on March 8 denied plaintiff Benihana of Tokyo (BOT) LLC’s motion to remand its breach of contract suit to state court and granted the defendants’ motion to dismiss the case alleging that Benihana Inc. (BI) has failed to comply with terms of its licensing agreement by operating a Benihana restaurant in Hawaii (Benihana of Tokyo LLC v. Angelo, Gordon & Co., et al., No. 16-cv-3800, S.D. N.Y., 2017 U.S Dist. LEXIS 33504).
RALEIGH, N.C. — A North Carolina federal judge on March 7 ordered a dispute between a franchisee and a jewelry franchisor into binding arbitration in accordance with an arbitration clause in the parties’ retailer agreement (Gold Mine Jewelry Shoppes Inc. v. Lise Aagaard Copenhagen, et al., No. 5:16-cv-00135, E.D. N.C., Western Div., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 31750).
CLEVELAND — An Ohio federal judge on March 7 transferred a case against a hearing aid franchisor to the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona in accordance with a forum-selection clause in the plaintiffs’ franchise agreements (Edward T. Bower, et al. v. Zounds Hearing Franchising LLC, et al., No. 1:16-cv-1429, N.D. Ohio, Eastern Div., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 32036).
INDIANAPOLIS — An Indiana federal judge on Feb. 27 granted a gas station and convenience store operator’s motion for summary judgment on Noble Roman Inc.’s claims for violation of the Lanham Act, saying that Noble Roman’s delay in taking action to protect its trademarks led to the defendant’s continued infringement (Noble Roman’s Inc. v. Hattenhauer Distributing Co., No. 1:14-cv-1734, S.D. Ind., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 27022).
NEW YORK — A New York County Supreme Court justice on March 1 granted a South Korean coffeehouse franchisor’s motion to compel arbitration in an action where the plaintiffs allege that Caffe Bene Ltd. made fraudulent misrepresentations that caused them to purchase franchises, saying that an arbitration clause in their franchise agreements was valid and enforceable (Jae Hong Ane, et al. v. Caffe Bene Ltd., et al., No. 651225/16, N.Y. Sup., New York Co., 2017 N.Y. Misc. LEXIS 731).
WACO, Texas — A Texas federal judge on March 6 denied in part a fitness center franchisor’s motion for summary judgment, finding that the plaintiffs who sued alleging breach of contract have objective evidence of their lost profits in the form of the losses they reported on their tax returns (Anne Armstrong, et al. v. Curves International Inc., No. 6:15-cv-294, W.D. Texas, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 31012).
SHERMAN, Texas — A Texas federal judge on March 6 granted Dickey’s Barbecue Pit Inc.’s motion for preliminary injunctive relief in a dispute with former franchisees who are alleged to have kept selling Dickey’s trademarked products after a franchise agreement was terminated, saying that the barbecue franchisor is likely to prevail in its trademark infringement suit (Dickey’s Barbecue Pit Inc., et al. v. Celebrated Affairs Catering Inc., et al., No. 4:17-cv-00127, E.D. Texas, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 30814).
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — 7-Eleven Inc. did not breach contracts with two franchisees by pricing gasoline too high at the franchisees’ four 7-Eleven stores but may have breached the covenant of good faith and fair dealing and violated Florida’s Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act with its gas pricing for the stores, a federal judge in Florida held Feb. 2 (Mahaliza, Inc., et al. v. 7-Eleven, Inc., No. 16-61754, S.D. Fla., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 15441).
MONTGOMERY, Ala. — An Alabama federal judge on Feb. 7 granted McDonald’s USA LLC’s motion to dismiss it from an age and race discrimination suit filed over the alleged actions of one of its franchisees because she failed to allege any facts showing that it controlled any aspect of the franchisee’s relationship with its employees (Betty Beckley v. McDonald’s USA LLC, et al., No. 2:16-cv-00054, M.D. Ala., Northern Div., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 16877).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) on Feb. 14 announced temporary changes to the recently revised franchise review process for its 7(a) and 504 loan programs that are designed to improve the review process for franchise, license, dealer, jobber or similar agreements as currently set forth in SBA’s Standard Operating Procedure 50 10 5(1).
PHILADELPHIA — A Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Feb. 3 affirmed the grant of summary judgment to Dunkin’ Donuts Franchising LLC in a breach of contract action because the record showed no genuine dispute that a franchisee violated a franchise agreement by misrepresenting his involvement in another business (Dunkin’ Donuts Franchising LLC, et al. v. C3WAIN Inc., et al., No. 16-1766, 3rd Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 2033).
TRENTON, N.J. — A New Jersey magistrate judge on Feb. 10 ordered that Allstate Life Insurance Co.’s motion to compel discovery from a third party in a breach of contract suit be denied as being overly broad and not proportional to the needs of the case (Allstate Life Insurance Co. v. Jeffrey Stillwell, et al., No. 15-8251, D. N.J., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 19087).
NORFOLK, Va. — A Virginia federal judge on Feb. 15 ordered tax services companies to pay more than $2.7 million in damages to franchisees for breach of a purchase and sale agreement (PSA) by failing to honor a buyback provision (JTH Tax Inc. d/b/a Liberty Tax Service, et al. v. Gregory Aime, et al., No. 2:16cv279, E.D. Va., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 21828).
RICHMOND, Va. — A Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Feb. 2 affirmed that Marriott International Inc., the franchisor of the Marriott Islamabad, is not liable for the death of an American man in a terrorist attack because the franchisee was responsible for security at the hotel (Mary DiFederico, et al. v. Marriott International Inc., No. 15-2179, 4th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 1864).
GREENBELT, Md. — A Maryland federal judge in a decision filed Feb. 17 denied a defendant’s motion to dismiss a complaint seeking confirmation of a more than $100,000 arbitration award in favor of a hotel franchisor, finding that his court has subject matter jurisdiction, that the defendant received sufficient service of arbitration notices and that the franchisor’s application states a claim for which relief can be granted (Choice Hotels International Inc. v. Jitendra Patel, No. 8:16cv1316, D. Md., Southern Div., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 22747).
GREENBELT, Md. — A Maryland federal judge on Feb. 14 denied petitioners’ motion to dismiss an arbitration award against them, saying that the arbitrator’s decision to enforce a noncompetition provision did not display a “manifest disregard of the law” but instead was based on the “essence” of the parties’ franchise agreement (Stephen Frye, et al. v. Wild Bird Centers of America Inc., No. 8:16cv3216, D. Md., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 20999).
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — A Florida federal judge on Jan. 30 remanded to state court a dispute over whether a contract between a diagnostic imaging services company and an insurer qualifies as a “franchise” under the Federal Trade Commission Franchise Rule because a defendant did not show by a preponderance of the evidence that the amount in controversy exceeds the jurisdictional threshold of $75,000 (MRI Scan Center LLC v. National Imaging Associates Inc., et al., No. 16-cv-61738, S.D. Fla., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 12356).