CAMDEN, N.J. — Mr. Softee Inc. on July 13 filed a trademark infringement lawsuit in New Jersey federal court against a former franchisee, alleging that he is operating ice cream stands at the Jersey Shore using the Mister Softee trademarks without permission (Mister Softee Inc. v. Carl Gallucci, No. 1:17-cv-05124, D. N.J.).
HOUSTON — A Texas federal judge on July 5 dismissed with prejudice a lawsuit against franchisor Holiday Hospitality Franchising Inc. alleging breach of contract, fraud and other claims, saying that the plaintiffs have not stated a plausible claim for breach of contract and have not identified the misrepresentations that allegedly form the basis of their fraud claims (Jay Z. Dalwadi, et al. v. Holiday Hospitality Franchising Inc., No. H-16-2588, S.D. Texas).
SAN FRANCISCO — A California federal judge on July 20 assessed costs of $100 for all three plaintiffs in an unsuccessful wage-and-hour class action against cleaning franchisor Jan-Pro Franchising International Inc. (JPI), less than the roughly $1,200 per plaintiff JPI was seeking, because the plaintiffs have shown that they will suffer disproportionate financial harm if full costs are taxed against them (Gloria Roman, et al. v. Jan-Pro Franchising International Inc., No. C 16-05961, N.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 113458).
WASHINGTN, D.C. — The National Labor Relations Board’s adoption of an indirect control standard has made employers potentially liable for employees they do not even employ, and the “broad, unpredictable” standard ties the hands of franchisors who want to provide valuable services to their franchisee, the CEO for the Dwyer Group told a House Committee July 12.
TAMPA, Fla. — A Florida federal judge on June 28 denied summary judgment motions filed by an automaker and a dealer that is disputing its right to terminate a franchise agreement, saying that issues exist that must be left for a jury to decide (Central Buick, GMC, Inc., et al. v. General Motors LLC, No. 8:15-cv-2393, M.D. Fla., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 100367).
TRENTON, N.J. — A New Jersey appeals panel on July 13 affirmed a chancery court ruling denying a real estate franchisee’s motion to dismiss a competitor’s lawsuit against it and one of its brokers, saying an arbitration clause does not require the dispute to be to be submitted to arbitration (Castle Realty Management, et al. v. Kevin Burbage, et al., No. A-5399-15T4, N.J. Super., App. Div., 2017 N.J. Super. Unpub. LEXIS 1748).
WILKESBORO, N.C. — A North Carolina Superior Court judge on July 12 denied a motion to dismiss two lawsuits against America’s largest replacement window company because the plaintiff franchisees alleged sufficient facts showing that the company’s sole shareholder had complete domination and control of the franchisor and that her allegedly wrongful conduct through the exercise of that domination and control was a proximate cause of their harms (Window World of Baton Rouge LLC, et al. v. Window World Inc., et al., N.C. Super., Wilkes Co., 2017 NCBC LEXIS 60).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Five franchise organizations on July 6 filed a joint amicus curiae brief with the U.S. Supreme Court in support of DIRECTV and DirectSat USA LLC, asking the high court to review a Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruling that they say threatens the business franchise model by claiming that multiple entities should be held jointly responsible for the same employees (DIRECTV LLC, et al. v. Marlon Hall, et al., No. 16-1449, U.S. Sup.).
ASHEVILLE, N.C. — A North Carolina federal judge on July 11 granted an insured’s motion to remand a complaint to North Carolina state court after determining that a local franchise for a property restoration company recommended by the insurer to remediate damages caused by a chimney fire is a proper defendant and defeats the complete diversity of citizenship required for federal jurisdiction (Elizabeth M.T. O’Nan v. Nationwide Insurance Co. et al., No. 17-5, W.D. N.C., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 106568).
GREENBELT, Md. — A Maryland federal judge on July 17 granted a cleaning franchisor’s motion to transfer a case alleging breach of contract and other misconduct to Tennessee federal court, saying that a forum-selection clause in a franchise agreement dictating that all litigation be venued in Memphis is valid and mandatory (ServiceMaster of Fairfax, Inc. v. ServiceMaster Residential/Commercial Services, L.P., No. 16-02589, D. Md., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 110453).
SEATTLE — A Washington federal judge on July 17 denied Money Mailer Franchise Corp.’s (MMFC) summary judgment motion and motion to compel arbitration in a breach of contract action over fees allegedly owed, saying that a franchisee would suffer prejudice from defending against claims filed in federal court while being forced to arbitrate other disputes with MMFC (Money Mailer LLC v. Wade G. Brewer, No. C15-1215, W.D. Wash., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 110632).
MINNEAPOLIS — The Minneapolis City Council on June 30 voted 11-1 to raise the city’s minimum wage to $15 an hour, joining other large U.S. cities that have increased basic wages.
ST. LOUIS — The full Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on July 3 ruled that a company that owns 10 Jimmy John’s Franchise LLC sandwich shops in the Twin Cities was within its rights to fire six union workers who circulated posters critical of the company’s sick leave policy, saying they made a “sharp, public disparaging attack upon the quality of the company’s product and its business policies, in a manner reasonably calculated to harm the company’s reputation and reduce its income” (MikLin Enterprises Inc. v. National Labor Relations Board, et al., No. 14-3099, 8th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 11792).
SAN FRANCISCO — A California federal magistrate judge on June 28 denied a motion for class certification filed by distributors of baked goods who claim that they were improperly classified as independent contractors, finding that individualized issues predominate (Mark Soares, et al. v. Flowers Foods, Inc., et al., No. 15-4918, N.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 100418).
LOS ANGELES — A California federal judge on June 26 granted summary judgment in favor of a gas station franchisor on a franchisee's claims for violation of California's unfair competition law (UCL) fraud, finding that it could not find that the gas station owner misled the franchisee to believe that he would receive a certain purchase price for the property and that no genuine issues of fact existed as to whether a contract was breached (Mark Yi, as successor in interest to OE Sun Yi, v. Circle K Stores Inc., No. 16-2171, C.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 99547).
EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. — An Illinois federal judge on June 12 dismissed with prejudice an amended putative class action complaint alleging that a massage parlor franchisor committed unfair and deceptive business practices by offering one-hour massages that provided no more than 50 minutes of massage time, saying that the plaintiffs failed to state plausible claims under both Illinois and Missouri laws (Kathy Haywood, et al. v. Massage Envy Franchising, LLC, No. 3:16-cv-01087, S.D. Ill., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 90148).
TRENTON, N.J. — A two-judge New Jersey appellate court panel on June 23 affirmed a state judge’s ruling that a dispute between a nail salon franchisee and the franchisor must be arbitrated in New York under the terms of their franchise agreement, saying that state law and policies may not stand in the way of the strong federal policy in favor of arbitration (Glamorous Inc. v. Angel Tips Inc., et al., No. A-0985-16T1, N.J. Super., App. Div., 2017 N.J. Super. Unpub. LEXIS 1526).
CINCINNATI — A Sixth Circuit U.S Court of Appeals panel on June 26 reversed an Ohio judge’s grant of a preliminary injunction in a franchise agreement dispute between a beer distributor and brewing companies, saying the judge abused his discretion in granting the injunction because the sole basis on which the plaintiff intends to succeed at trial is without legal support (Southern Glazer’s Distributors of Ohio, LLC v. The Great Lakes Brewing Co., et al., No. 16-4235, 6th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 11306).
DENVER — The 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on May 24 entered a stipulation to dismiss an appeal seeking attorney fees and costs in a breach of contract suit that resulted in an $8.2 million jury verdict for shipping resellers (Gulf Coast Shippers Limited Partnership, et al. v. DHL Express [USA] Inc., Nos. 16-4169 and 16-4176, 10th Cir.).
CHICAGO — The Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on March 25 granted an unopposed motion for voluntary dismissal of an appeal of a racial discrimination judgment in favor of International House of Pancakes (IHOP) in a franchise agreement dispute (Azhar Chaudhry, et al. v. International House of Pancakes LLC, No. 15-2910, 7th Cir.).