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).
CAMDEN, N.J. — A New Jersey federal judge on Jan. 30 granted a defendants’ motion to dismiss a trademark infringement and unfair competition complaint in a family feud over control of the name of the Tony Luke’s sandwich empire for lack of subject matter jurisdiction (TR Worldwide Phillyfood LLC v. Tony Luke Inc., et al., No. 1:16-cv-01185, D. N.J.).
ALBANY, N.Y. — A New York federal judge on Jan. 27 granted H&R Block Tax Services LLC’s motion to dismiss a defendant’s counterclaim and strike her first two affirmative defenses in a case in which H&R Block alleges that the defendant violated a franchise agreement, saying that the agreement allowed H&R Block to elect to not renew it without cause (H&R Block Tax Services LLC v. Judy Strauss, No. 1:15-cv-0085, N.D. N.Y., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 11170).
CINCINNATI — A Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Jan. 27 affirmed that a sanitation services franchisor failed to provide a franchisee with a disclosure statement and therefore the franchise agreement should be rescinded and the franchisee should recover payments in connection with the franchise sale, including $45,822.13 in attorney fees (Brian Lofgren v. AirTrona Canada, et al., No. 16-1804, 6th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 1565).
CAMDEN, N.J. — In a Jan. 13 brief on standing filed in New Jersey federal court, the plaintiff in a family feud over control of the name of the Tony Luke’s sandwich empire says it has standing to pursue it claims because a 2010 licensing agreement confirmed that it acquired all of the rights to the intellectual property of TL Enterprises LLC (TLE), owned by Tony Luke Jr. (TR Worldwide Phillyfood LLC v. Tony Luke Inc., et al., No. 1:16-cv-01185, D. N.J.).
ST. LOUIS — A Missouri federal judge on Dec. 22 awarded a restaurant franchisor $689,013.27 in attorney fees and costs after it was awarded partial summary judgment in its lawsuit against a former franchisee that continued to operate its business after the franchise agreement was terminated (LC Franchisor LLC, et al. v. Valley Beef LLC, No. 4:15-cv-00383, E.D. Mo.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 177244).
PHILADELPHIA — Plaintiffs in a lawsuit alleging intentional infringement and misappropriation of intellectual property, unfair competition and breach of fiduciary duties that has the owners of a 116-year-old restaurant fighting over its name and franchising on Jan. 18 filed an opposition to a motion to dismiss their lawsuit for failure to state a claim, saying they have alleged more than enough facts to support all of their claims (Karen Castagna, et al. v. James Rubino Jr., et al., No. 2:16-cv-05066, E.D. Pa.).
MIAMI — A Florida federal judge on Jan. 3 approved a $6,000 settlement payout to one of the plaintiffs involved in a failed attempt to get approval for certification of a collective action under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) to create an FLSA class of “store managers” working at Subway franchises owned and operated by the same person (Yirandi Aguiar, et al. v. Subway 39077 Inc., et al., No. 16-23399-Civ, S.D. Fla.).
COLUMBUS, Ohio — An Ohio federal magistrate judge on Dec. 27 ruled that defendant brewing companies in a franchise agreement dispute with a beer distributor were entitled to an award of attorney fees and costs because, despite an expedited discovery schedule, the defendants’ production was delayed (Southern Glazer’s Distributors of Ohio, LLC v. The Great Lakes Brewing Co., et al., No. 2:16-cv-861, S.D. Ohio, Eastern Div.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 178656).
SAN FRANCISCO — A California federal judge on Dec. 21 denied a motion for an order to consolidate arbitration proceedings, saying that two groups of barbecue restaurant franchisees that had been ordered to separately arbitrate their claims against Dickey’ Barbecue Restaurants Inc. were not entitled to consolidate their cases because the question of whether the arbitrations could be consolidated must be decided by an arbitrator (Meadows v. Dickey's Barbecue Rests. Inc., No. 15-02139, N.D. Calif.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 176788).
NEW HAVEN, Conn. — A Connecticut federal judge on Dec. 28 granted a Subway sandwich shop franchisor’s motion to compel arbitration in a dispute over its denial of a franchise to two applicants, saying that the applicants “broadly agreed” to arbitrate all claims related to their franchise application (Doctor’s Associates Inc. v. Brian Burr, et al., No. 3:16-cv-1335, D. Conn.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 178992).
ATLANTA — Arby’s Restaurant Group Inc. on Dec. 20 filed a complaint in Georgia federal court alleging that a franchisee breached the indemnification obligations in a license agreement to operate an Arby’s restaurant in Van Wert, Ohio, and breached the personal guaranty of the franchisee’s shareholders and officers (Arby’s Restaurant Group Inc. v. Bob Rhodes Co., et al., No. 1:16-cv-04664, N.D. Ga.).
HARRISBURG, Pa. — In a one-sentence per curiam opinion, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court on Dec. 16 dismissed as ‘improvidently granted” an appeal of an appellate ruling that Saladworks LLC is not a joint employer of a franchisee’s worker who was injured on the job under state workers’ compensation law (Saladworks LLC, et al. v. Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board, et al., No. 52 MAP 2016, Pa. Sup., Middle Dist.).
LOS ANGELES — A franchisee on Dec. 29 sued a cleaning commercial janitorial services franchisor in California federal court, alleging fraud and misrepresentation for allegedly failing to disclose several important facts prior to the signing of a franchise agreement for parts of Los Angeles (Lyncroft Advisors Inc., et al. v. City Wide Franchise Co. Inc., No. 2:16-cv-09642, C.D. Calif.).
BALTIMORE — A Maryland magistrate judge on Jan. 6 granted nine of 10 requests by a clothing store franchisor for a protective order against discovery requests, finding the requests overbroad or off-topic (Jos. A. Bank Clothiers Inc. v. J.A.B.-Columbia Inc., et al., No. 1:15cv3075, D. Md.; 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 2113).