CINCINNATI — A supervisor formerly employed by a Michelin company franchisee failed to show that he was not exempt from receiving overtime wages or that his H-1B visa application was equivalent to an employment contract, a Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled Aug. 14, upholding a trial court’s summary judgment ruling in favor of the employer (Carlos Humberto Perez Mosquera v. MTI Retreading Company, No. 17-2366, 6th Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 22462).
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — A federal magistrate judge in Florida on Aug. 14 recommended dismissing a franchisor’s suit accusing a former franchisee of violating the Lanham Act for lack of jurisdiction, finding that a randomly generated phone number cannot support the plaintiff company’s allegations of trademark infringement (Interim Healthcare Inc. v. Suncoast Loving Care LLC, et al., No. 18-CV-60766, S.D. Fla., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 138154).
DALLAS — A Texas appeals panel on Aug. 13 reversed a lower court judge’s decision to award $20,000 in damages and $11,250 in attorney fees to a franchisee who accused a franchisor of violating the Deceptive Trade Practices Act (DTPA), finding that there was insufficient evidence to show that the franchisor could have known about delays in the construction of the store (Julio Fereira, et al. v. Terry Russell, No. 05-16-01235-CV, Texas App., 5th Dist., 2018 Tex. App. LEXIS 6341).
CLEVELAND — An Ohio federal judge on Aug. 9 signed off on a magistrate judge’s report and recommendation to deny attorney fees, costs and expenses sought by a defendant franchisee after the court denied a motion for preliminary injunction filed by the plaintiff, a fast-pitch softball league, in lawsuit alleging that the franchisee violated a noncompete agreement (NPF Franchising LLC v. SY Dawgs LLC, et al., No. 18 CV 277, N.D. Ohio, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 135720).
ANNAPOLIS, Md. — A Maryland Court of Special Appeals panel on Aug. 9 affirmed a circuit court’s ruling upholding a tax court’s decision that Staples Inc. and Staples The Office Superstore Inc. failed to pay the proper amount of taxes from 1999 until 2004, finding that the comptroller of the Treasury used the correct method to calculate the amount owed (Staples Inc., et al. v. Comptroller of the Treasury, No. 2597 September Term, 2016, Md. Spec. App., 2018 Md. App. LEXISS 785).
RICHMOND, Va. — A majority of the Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Aug. 8 found that a lower court erred when it determined that tax preparation franchisees were entitled to lost profits based on the purported extension of the buyback deadline of a purchase and sale agreement (PSA), vacating and remanding in part (JTH Tax, Inc., d/b/a Liberty Tax Service, et al. v. Gregory Aime, et al., Nos. 17-1859 and 17-1905, 4th Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 22053).
ATLANTA — An 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on July 31 reversed a trial court’s dismissal of a lawsuit accusing Dunkin’ Donuts LLC and two other entities of failing to make their website, as “a service that facilitates the use of” its shops, accessible to visually impaired customers and ruled that it wasn’t the appropriate stage to consider Dunkin’ Donuts’ argument that it is merely a franchisor (Dennis Haynes v. Dunkin’ Donuts LLC, et al., No. 18-10373, 11th Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 21126).
MIAMI — A not-for profit association on behalf of its franchisee members on July 24 sued the Tim Hortons franchisor and its private equity parent company for breach of contract, bad faith and deceptive and unfair trade practices in Florida court, alleging that the defendants committed an “illegal business scheme” by making changes to the franchise system that “adversely impacts the profitability of its franchised shops” (Great White North Franchisee Association-USA Inc. v. Tim Hortons USA Inc., et al., No. 75409326, Fla. Cir.).
DALLAS — A Texas federal judge on Aug. 6 denied a motion to dismiss filed by franchisees after determining that the court possesses subject matter jurisdiction because the joinder of the former franchisor is not necessary to determine the enforceability of the franchise agreements at issue (Gigi’s Cupcakes LLC v. 4 Box LLC, et al., No. 17-3009, N.D. Texas, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 131419).
NEW YORK — Efforts by the “It’s Just Lunch” dating service franchise to decertify two plaintiff classes for failure to maintain compliance with the predominance requirement were unsuccessful on Aug. 6, when a New York federal judge denied the request (Christine Rodriguez, individually and for all others similarly situated, v. It’s Just Lunch International, et al., No. 07-9227, S.D. N.Y., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 131870).
EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. — An Illinois federal judge on July 19 signed off on a $975,000 settlement to be paid by two International House of Pancakes (IHOP) franchisees to end a sexual harassment lawsuit by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. 2103 Restaurant Group, LLC, et al., No. 17-1002, S.D. Ill.).
PORTLAND, Maine — A federal judge in Maine on Aug. 2 denied a day care provider franchisor’s motion for a temporary restraining order in a lawsuit against former franchisees, finding that the franchisor has failed to establish that it is likely to succeed on its claims alleging that all of the terms of the franchise agreement remained effective even after the agreement expired (Toddle Inn Franchising, LLC v. KPJ Associates LLC, et al., No. 18-00293, D. Maine, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 129784).
ATLANTA — Franchisees on July 25 filed an appellant brief in the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, arguing that a district court judge erred in refusing to certify two classes of franchisees of the Wyndham Hotel Group who received faxes from a safe company, arguing that the denial was an abuse of discretion and should be reversed (Gorss Motels Inc., et al. v. Safemark Systems LP, No. 18-12511, 11th Cir.).
EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. — An Illinois federal judge on July 31 dismissed two Illinois state law claims against a franchisor accused of harming workers with its nonsolicitation agreements but permitted the former employee to proceed with his Sherman Act class claim as the plaintiff, at this early stage, has stated a plausible violation (Sylvas Butler, et al. v. Jimmy Johns Franchise, LLC, et al., No. 18-133, S.D. Ill., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 128149).
DETROIT — On remand from the Michigan Supreme Court, the Michigan Court of Appeals on July 26 reversed and remanded the grant of summary judgment to a franchisor and franchisee of a Planet Fitness exercise facility as to a former member’s claim for violation of the Michigan Consumer Protection Act (MCPA) under Michigan Code of Law 445.903(1)(s), (bb) and (cc) and affirmed the ruling in all other respects in a dispute over Planet Fitness’ locker room policies (Yvette M. Cormier v. PF Fitness-Midland, LLC, et al., No. 331286, Mich. App., 2018 Mich. App. LEXIS 2938).
BOSTON — A Massachusetts federal judge on July 20 denied 7-Eleven Inc.’s motion to dismiss a lawsuit alleging that it misclassified its franchisee convenience store workers as independent contractors instead of employees but dismissed two of the franchisor’s market managers from the lawsuit, finding that the plaintiffs failed to allege individual liability against them (Dhananjay Patel, et al. v. 7-Eleven, Inc., et al., No. 17-11414, D. Mass., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 121705).
SAN FRANCISCO — A Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled July 19 that it will decide a motion to remand filed by three janitorial workers employee by franchisees of Jan-Pro Franchising International Inc. (JPI) in light of the California Supreme Court’s ruling in Dynamex Operations West Inc. v. Superior Court, 2018 Cal LEXIS 3152 (Cal. Sup. April 30, 2018), as well as a request from the National Employment Project, Equal Rights Advocates, Dolores Street Community Services, Legal Aid at Work and Worksafe Inc. to file an amicus curiae brief on behalf of the employees (Gloria Roman, et al. v. Jan-Pro Franchising International Inc., No. 17-16096, 9th Cir.).
HACKENSACK, N.J. — A complaint filed in the New Jersey Superior Court on July 16 alleges that a senior care franchisee, its owner and employees committed negligence that caused an 85-year-old man to leave his premises unattended, fall into a canal and sustain severe injuries that resulted in his death (Thomas P. Kozell, et al. v. Homewell Senior Care, Inc., et al., No. BER-L-005190-18, N.J. Super., Bergen Co.).
SANTA ANA, Calif. — A July 11 class complaint filed in California state court accuses numerous Jaguar Land Rover North America dealerships in California of denying purchases to Asian customers in violation of the Unruh Act and California Business and Professions Code Section 17200 et seq. (Paul Chiu, et al. v. Pendragon North America, Inc., et al., No. 2018-01004633, Calif. Super., Orange Co.).
NEW YORK — A National Labor Relations Board administrative law judge (ALJ) on July 17 declined to approve proposed settlements in a retaliation dispute involving McDonald’s USA LLC, its franchisees and workers, opining that while immediate relief would be provided to those employees alleging retaliation, the agreements ignore the remainder of the case’s “ultimate purpose” of addressing McDonald’s joint-employer status (McDonald’s USA LLC, a Joint Employer, et al. v. Fast Food Workers Committee, et al., No. 02-CA-093893, et al., NLRB).