JACKSON, Miss. — There is no evidence showing that a Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) franchisee exercised control over a gas station convenience store’s restroom located in the same building where a man slipped and injured himself, the Mississippi Court of Appeals held Dec. 3, affirming judgment to the franchisee (Wilbur M. Washington, Jr., et al. v. West Quality Food Services, Inc., No. 2017-CA-01532-COA, Miss. App., 2019 Miss. App. LEXIS 576).
PITTSBURGH — A Pennsylvania magistrate judge on Dec. 3 dismissed without prejudice claims brought by a franchisee of a 7-Eleven convenience store against the franchisor for breach of contract, accounting and defamation because the franchise failed to provide details regarding the alleged wrongful conduct (Aysan Guvenal, et al. v. 7-Eleven, Inc., No. 19-391, W.D. Pa., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 207699).
PHILADELPHIA — A federal judge in Pennsylvania on Nov. 25 denied a motion to dismiss filed by Jiffy Lube International Inc. in a putative class complaint by a former employee over the franchisor’s no-poach provision as it related to a Sherman Act claim but granted it to the extent that Jiffy Lube argued that the employee lacked standing to seek injunctive relief and as to the plaintiffs’ antitrust claims older than four years (Victor Fuentes v. Royal Dutch Shell PLC, et al., No. 18-5174, E.D. Pa.).
HONOLULU — Two expert witnesses for a Hawaiian car dealership can testify about the value of the business to determine damages in the franchisee’s improper business practices suit against the franchisor, Volvo Car USA LLC, though they cannot mention estimated 2017 financial results because the business never provided the actual results, a federal judge ruled Nov. 26 (Envy Hawaii LLC v. Volvo Car USA LLC, No. 1:17-cv-40, D. Hawaii, 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 206319).
CHICAGO — McDonald’s USA LLC is liable in a disability violations class action as both the “operator” and “lessor” of a California restaurant because its agreement with the franchisee allows it to “control modification of the franchise to improve its accessibility to the disabled,” a plaintiff argues in a Nov. 26 brief to an Illinois federal court in opposition to the franchisor’s summary judgment motion (Karen Morey v. McDonald’s Corp., et al., No. 18-1137, N.D. Ill.).
MOBILE, Ala. — An Alabama bankruptcy judge on Nov. 21 limited relief sought by a franchisor of landscape service against debtors in state or federal courts in the Southern District of Alabama but overruled an objection to the franchisor’s $27,770.06 unsecured claim (In re: Stephen L. Mainous and RaeAnne E. Mainous, No. 19-11630, S.D. Ala. Bkcy., 2019 Bankr. LEXIS 3612).
DALLAS — A McDonald’s franchisee in Texas accused of employing a general manager and another employee who sexually harassed female workers will pay $340,000 to the named employees and a class of female workers, provide anti-discrimination and harassment training and never employ the two alleged harassers again, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission announced Nov. 25 (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Credle Enterprises, LLC, No. 18-239, N.D. Texas).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Supreme Court on Nov. 12 denied a fast-food-restaurant franchisee’s petition for a writ of certiorari, which asked the court to determine whether an agreement with an investor that allowed the investor “to circumvent and violate” federal immigration law is legal and enforceable under state law (Robert T. Chiu v. Jui-Chien Lin, No. 19-314, U.S. Sup.).
TEXARKANA, Texas — A Nissan franchisee’s sale performance did not constitute a breach of a dealer sales and service agreement, a Texas appeals panel held Nov. 22, also finding that the franchisee did not breach the agreement by “willfully falsifying its tax returns and by knowingly submitting false financial statements” (Nissan North America, Inc. v. Texas Department of Motor Vehicles, et al., No. 06-19-00007-CV, Texas App., 6th Dist., 2019 Tex. App. LEXIS 10138).
SAN FRANCISCO — The California Supreme Court on Nov. 20 agreed to decide whether Dynamex Operations West Inc. v. Superior Court applies retroactively after the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals certified the question to the high court in a case concerning cleaning service franchisees’ status as employees (Gerardo Vazquez, et al. v. Jan-Pro Franchising International, Inc., No. S258191, Calif. Sup.).
CHICAGO — Seventeen employees of McDonald’s restaurants in the Chicago area sued corporate- and franchise-owned stores on Nov. 21 in an Illinois state court for failure to protect them from customers’ violent behavior, which has resulted in physical and psychological injuries (Sonia Acuña, et al. v. McDonald’s Corp., et al., No. 2019-CH-13477, Ill. Cir, Cook Co.).
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — A franchisor of Golden Corral restaurants accused of discrimination was denied summary judgment on Nov. 12 by an Arkansas federal judge, who found evidence that the firing of a server with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) could have been pretextual (Jimmy Davis v. Golden Partners Inc., No. 18-5188, W.D. Ark., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 195763).
FORT WAYNE, Ind. — An effort by a former franchisee and recipient of an unsolicited junk fax to certify a nationwide class was again unsuccessful on Nov. 4, when a federal judge in Indiana denied reconsideration of her May finding that “questions of prior express invitation or permission” to receive the fax in question “are individual inquires that predominate over common issues” (Gorss Motels Inc. v. Brigadoon Fitness Inc., et al., No. 16-cv-330-HAB, N.D. Ind., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 190548).
PORTLAND, Ore. — In a more-than-100-page opinion addressing 15 different summary judgment motions, an Oregon federal judge on Nov. 13 determined that the plaintiffs in a putative class action filed against fast food restaurant franchisor Jack in the Box Inc. are entitled to summary judgment on their claim that Jack in the Box violated Oregon law by failing to pay the plaintiffs and other employees within the period required by law when Jack in the Box transferred its Oregon restaurants to its franchisees (Jessica Gessele, et al. v. Jack in the Box Inc., No. 3:14-cv-1092, D. Ore., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 196627).
NEWARK, N.J. — In a putative class action by seasonal tax preparers over a franchisor’s no-poach agreements, a federal judge in New Jersey on Oct. 31 dismissed only claims against a tax preparation franchisor and its subsidiary that occurred before Dec. 20, 2014 (Jessica Robinson, et al. v. Jackson Hewitt, Inc., et al., No. 19-9066, D. N.J., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 188962).
WICHITA, Kan. — A federal judge in Kansas on Oct. 30 dismissed a franchisee’s lawsuit under the Automobile Dealers Day in Court Act (ADDCA) against Toyota Motor Sales USA Inc. because the franchisee was not a party to the dealer agreement (Michael E. Steven, et al. v. Toyota Motor Sales USA, Inc., No. 19-1179, D. Kan., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 189227).
MIAMI — A tax preparation franchisor, its related entities and its board members accuse a group of former and current franchisees and area representatives in a Nov. 4 complaint filed in a Florida federal court of breaching their franchise agreements’ nondisparagement clause by initiating a “vindictive” campaign of “anonymous” false and defamatory emails against the franchisor (Happy Tax Holding Corp., et al. Jamey Hill, et al., No. 19-24552, S.D. Fla.).
DETROIT — A plaintiff alleging violations of a noncompete provision in a franchise agreement who waited more than a year to seek a preliminary injunction saw its request denied Oct. 18 by a federal judge in Michigan, who deemed the delay unreasonable (DetailXPerts Franchise Systems LLC v. Deck Inc., et al., No. 19-10037, E.D. Mich., 2019 US Dist. LEXIS 180234).
SAN FRANCISCO — California’s labor commissioner argues in a Nov. 8 amicus curiae brief in support of the withdrawal of a Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel’s decision on joint employment liability under California wage-and-hour law in a wage class lawsuit against McDonald’s Corp. and the certification of workers’ proposed questions on that liability to California’s high court to “promote clarity and uniformity in applying California wage-and-hour law” (Guadalupe Salazar, et al. v. McDonald’s Corp., et al., No. 17-15673, 9th Cir.).
DETROIT — A Michigan woman filed a class complaint on Nov. 12 accusing McDonald’s USA LLC, McDonald’s Corp. and a Michigan franchisee of failing to address a “systemic problem” of harassment of employees, including groping and physical assaults (Jenna Ries, et al. v. McDonald’s USA, LLC, et al., No. 19-829, Mich. Cir., Ingham Co.).