Mealey's Franchise

  • May 24, 2017

    California Jury Awards $256.45 Million To Nissan Automobile Dealer

    LOS ANGELES — An Orange County Superior Court jury on May 22 awarded $256.45 million against Nissan Motor Acceptance Corp. (NMAC), including $121.9 million in compensatory damages and $134.55 million in punitive damages, for pulling the plug on a southern California auto dealership’s financing, the law firm Miller Barondess announced in a press release (Nissan Motor Acceptance Corp. v. Superior Auto of Fremont LLC, et al., No. 30-2009-00305125, Calif. Super., Orange Co.).

  • May 22, 2017

    EEOC Sues Ruby Tuesday, Alleging Age Bias In Failing To Hire Older Man

    FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on May 17 sued Ruby Tuesday Inc. in Florida federal court, alleging that it violated the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) by failing to hire a man for a vacant general manager position at its Boca Raton, Fla., location because of his age (U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Ruby Tuesday Inc., No. 0:17-cv-60970, S.D. N.Y.).

  • May 22, 2017

    Franchisee Appellant Asks 3rd Circuit To Review Issue Splitting Circuits

    PHILADELPHIA — Saying it is a matter of first impression in the circuit, a franchisee in a May 2 brief to the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals says the court should adopt the rule of a majority of the circuits that do not require a party to move first in a district court to vacate a default judgment before appealing (Howard Johnson International Inc. v. Saisat LLC, et al., No. 16-4345, 3rd Cir.).

  • May 22, 2017

    7-Eleven: Judge’s Ruling On Terminated Agreements ‘Unquestionably Correct’

    PHILADELPHIA — A federal judge’s ruling that franchise agreements with an operator of six New Jersey 7-Eleven convenience stores have been properly terminated was “unquestionably the correct result based on the record before it,” 7-Eleven Inc. says in an April 27 brief to the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals (7-Eleven Inc. v. Karamjeet Sodhi, et al., Nos. 16-3163, 17-1262, 3rd Cir.).

  • May 18, 2017

    Indiana Federal Judge Dismisses Franchise Fraud Claims Against Publisher

    INDIANAPOLIS — An Indiana federal judge on May 16 granted third-party defendants’ motion to dismiss franchise fraud claims against them in a trademark infringement case, saying counterclaimants failed to plead their claim with sufficient particularity (Britt Interactive LLC, et al. v. A3 Media LLC, et al., No. 1:16-cv-02884, S.D. Ind., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 73945).

  • May 18, 2017

    New Arizona State Law Clarifies Definition Of Joint Employer Relationship

    PHOENIX — In a response to joint employment disputes, an Arizona law set to take effect Aug. 9 clarifies that a franchisor is not an employer or co-employer of either a franchisee or an employee of the franchisee “unless the franchisor agrees, in writing, to assume the role of employer or co-employer of the franchisee or the employee of the franchisee” (Ariz. HB 2322).

  • May 17, 2017

    New York Federal Judge Says Trademark Complaint States Claim For Relief

    NEW YORK — A New York federal judge on May 16 denied a defendant restaurateur’s motion to dismiss a complaint that its use of trademarks infringes a pizza franchisor’s trademark that predates the restaurateur’s mark, finding that the complaint states a claim upon which relief can be granted (I.O.B. Realty Inc. v. Patsy’s Brand Inc., et al., No. 1:16-cv-7682, S.D. N.Y., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 74108).

  • May 17, 2017

    Nevada Federal Judge: Special Relationship Exists Between Franchisee, Franchisor

    RENO, Nev. — A Nevada federal judge on April 26 allowed some claims to go forward in a dispute between a Nevada alcohol wholesaler and a California brewery, saying that the state Supreme Court has recognized that the relationship between franchisees and franchisors is among the “special relationships” in which tort liability may arise (Crown Beverages Inc. v. Sierra Nevada Brewing Co., et al., No. 3:16-cv-00695, D. Nev., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 63146).

  • May 16, 2017

    Pennsylvania Panel Says Privilege Tax On 7-Eleven Franchisees Unconstitutional

    HARRISBURG, Pa. — A Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court panel on April 13 unanimously held that a local business privilege tax (BPT) on fees paid by Pennsylvania 7-Eleven Inc. franchisees to 7-Eleven’s regional office in Upper Moreland Township was unconstitutional because it was not fairly apportioned (Upper Moreland Township v. 7 Eleven Inc., No. 144 C.D. 2016, Pa. Cmwlth., 2017 Pa. Commw. LEXIS 106).

  • May 16, 2017

    Papa John’s Franchise Owners’ Class Action Waiver Is Declared Invalid

    SAN DIEGO — A class action waiver that was part of the arbitration agreement between the owner of Papa John’s Pizza franchises and an employee who filed a class complaint is invalid because it precludes the employee from engaging in at least one of the three types of concerted actions the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) protects, a California federal judge ruled May 11 (Peter Ross v. P.J. Pizza San Diego, LLC, et al., No. 16-2330, S.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 72411).

  • May 12, 2017

    Georgia Appeals Panel Affirms Summary Judgment In Slip-And-Fall Suit

    ATLANTA — A Georgia appellate panel on May 10 affirmed summary judgment in favor of a man who owns a franchise of a Chick-fil-A after finding that a woman who slipped and injured herself in the restaurant did not show that the owner had knowledge of the hazard (Latasha Hartman v. David Clark, No. A17A1023, Ga. App., k83rd Div., 2017 Ga. App. LEXIS 200).

  • May 12, 2017

    Indiana Magistrate Judge Orders Discovery Of Franchise Pacts In Restaurant Row

    HAMMOND, Ind. — An Indiana magistrate judge on May 10 granted a Texas grill and saloon franchisor’s motion to compel discovery of franchise agreements of a western-style restaurant franchisor that is accusing it of trademark and trade dress infringement, but limited it to production of U.S. franchise agreements because requiring production of foreign franchise agreements, if any, would be “disproportional to the needs of the case” (Texas Roadhouse Inc., et al. v. Texas Corral Restaurants Inc., et al., No. 2:16-cv-28, N.D. Ind., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 71182).

  • May 11, 2017

    New Jersey Appeals Panel Affirms Judgment For Gym Franchisor In Deal Dispute

    TRENTON, N.J. — A New Jersey appeals panel on May 8 affirmed the grant of summary judgment to a gym franchisor, finding that the franchisor had no authority over the misrepresentations made by an independent contractor regarding a franchise deal that later fell apart (Karen DeMartini, et al. v. Robert Berlin, et al., No. A-1040-15T4, N.J. Super., App. Div., 2017 N.J. Super. Unpub. LEXIS 1117).

  • May 10, 2017

    South Carolina Federal Judge Denies Dismissal Motion In Breach Of Contract Action

    COLUMBIA, S.C. — A South Carolina federal judge on May 3 denied a motion to dismiss a breach of contract suit, finding no evidence that the plaintiff signed a contract or otherwise agreed to submit disputes to arbitration (Theo’s Pizza LLC v. Integrity Brands LLC, No. 3:17-cv-0039, D. S.C., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 67331).

  • May 10, 2017

    8th Circuit Panel Affirms Grant Of Injunction Against Dry Cleaner Franchisee

    ST. LOUIS — An Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on April 28 affirmed a Minnesota federal judge’s grant of a permanent injunction enjoining a dry cleaner franchisee from using Martinizing International LLC’s trademarks but said Martinizing was not entitled to punitive damages, costs or attorney fees in its action against the franchisee and two of its employees because they agreed to cease using the marks (Martinizing International LLC v. BC Cleaners LLC, et al., No. 16-1069, 8th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 7531).

  • May 10, 2017

    Company’s Trade Secrets Misappropriation Claims Survive Dismissal Motion

    DALLAS — Defendants in a misappropriation of trade secrets and intellectual property lawsuit have failed to show that a plaintiff failed to state its claims for violation of the Texas Uniform Trade Secrets Act (TUTSA), as well as several common-law claims, a federal magistrate judge in Texas ruled May 8 in denying the defendants’ motion to dismiss (TeamLogic Inc. v. Meredith Group IT LLC, et al., No. 16-2542, N.D. Texas, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 69580).

  • May 4, 2017

    Utah High Court Affirms That Tesla Franchisee Can’t Sell Cars In State

    SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Supreme Court on April 3 unanimously held that an arrangement between Tesla Inc., the electric automaker, and Tesla Motors UT Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary, amounted to an illegal automobile franchise under state law prohibiting auto manufacturers from owning dealerships (Tesla Motors UT Inc. v. Utah Tax Commission, et al., No. 20150792, Utah Sup., 2017 Utah LEXIS 54).

  • April 28, 2017

    New York Appeals Panel: New Auto Dealership Outside ‘Relevant Market Area’

    BROOKLYN, N.Y. — A New York appeals panel on April 26 ruled that a trial judge properly granted a manufacturer’s motion to dismiss an auto dealer’s claim that its plan to award a new auto dealership was a modification of the dealer’s franchise in violation of state law because the dealer acknowledged that the location of the proposed new dealership was outside of its “relevant market area” (JJM Sunrise Automotive LLC v. Volkswagen Group of America Inc., No. 601658/14, N.Y. Sup., App. Div., 2nd Dept., 2017 N.Y. App. Div. LEXIS 3103).

  • April 28, 2017

    New York Appeals Panel: New Auto Dealership Outside ‘Relevant Market Area’

    BROOKLYN, N.Y. — A New York appeals panel on April 26 ruled that a trial judge properly granted a manufacturer’s motion to dismiss an auto dealer’s claim that its plan to award a new auto dealership was a modification of the dealer’s franchise in violation of state law because the dealer acknowledged that the location of the proposed new dealership was outside of its “relevant market area” (JJM Sunrise Automotive LLC v. Volkswagen Group of America Inc., No. 601658/14, N.Y. Sup., App. Div., 2nd Dept., 2017 N.Y. App. Div. LEXIS 3103).

  • April 27, 2017

    Massachusetts Appeals Panel: Franchise Owners Didn’t Have Right To Cancel Pact

    BOSTON — A Massachusetts Appeals Court panel on April 25 affirmed a state judge’s ruling that the owners of Dunkin’ Donuts franchises did not have the right to terminate an asset purchase agreement in which they agreed to sell a franchise, finding no evidence that the buyer intended to defraud the seller (Morton Donuts Inc. v. Four K’s Donut Inc., et al., No. 16-P-529, Mass. App., 2017 Mass. App. Unpub. LEXIS 428).