SEATTLE — A district court must reconsider a food delivery driver’s wage claims under California’s “ABC” test, which distinguishes between employees and independent contractors in wage order cases as California’s Proposition 22 did not “abate” the application of the test to those claims, a Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled Sept. 20.
DAYTON, Ohio — A pizza shop franchisee and her limited liability companies named as defendants in a putative class complaint by a pizza delivery driver alleging improper reimbursement for vehicle expenses filed an opposition on Sept. 21 to the driver’s motion to compel discovery responses, arguing that the franchisee’s husband who was also named as a defendant is not an employer and so his emails are not discoverable.
LOS ANGELES — A convenience store franchisor on Sept. 16 filed a proposed final judgment in a federal court in California in favor of itself one week after the judge issued findings of fact and conclusions of law determining that 7-Eleven franchisees are independent contractors and not employees.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) on Sept. 20 announced an extension of the effective date of the rescission a joint employer status rule that took effect under President Donald J. Trump’s administration in March 2020.
OXFORD, Miss. — A Mississippi federal judge on Sept. 13 rejected an employer’s attempt to narrowly define the expertise required in a wrongful death case, denying its motion to exclude filed in a case in which it is alleged that the company’s negligent hiring led to an employee’s death.
ST. LOUIS — One of the real estate broker franchisors accused in a putative class complaint of conspiring with other franchisors and the National Association of Realtors (NAR) to require home sellers to pay inflated broker commissions in violation of the Sherman Act waived its right to arbitrate after actively litigating the case for a year, the Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Sept. 10.
PHOENIX — The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed a disability bias complaint against a Subway franchise on Sept. 10, and a federal judge in Arizona the same day filed an order discouraging the parties from filing motions to dismiss or for judgment on the pleadings if any defects in the complaint could “be cured by a permissible amendment.”
NEW YORK — A divided Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Sept. 9 ruled that a cleaning company franchisor’s compensation scheme, which included an initial franchise fee and ongoing payments from franchisees, did not violate Connecticut law even if the franchisees were found to be employees rather than independent contractors as the case law is clear that such fees are permitted and the franchisees received something of value, franchise rights, in exchange for the fees.
CLEVELAND — An Ohio federal judge on Sept. 7 denied Sonic Corp.’s motion for summary judgment over a negligence claim brought against it by a class of financial institutions (FIs) related to the fast food chain’s 2017 data breach, with the judge finding that questions of material fact existed and holding that the key matter of proximate cause should be decided by a jury.
LAS VEGAS — A federal judge in Nevada on Aug. 30 issued an order granting final approval of a more than $858,000 settlement to be paid by a Wendy’s franchisee in Nevada to settle class claims that it failed to pay workers who declined health benefits upper-tier minimum wages pursuant to state law.
PHILADELPHIA — Two companies that purchased the right to franchise fitness studios failed to show that they are likely to succeed on claims that the fitness studio creator and her two companies breached their agreement or violated a noncompete clause when the creator failed to immediately begin operating her existing studios as franchises and instead began operating them under another name, the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals held Aug. 10, affirming a district court’s denial of a motion for preliminary injunction.
ALAMEDA, Calif. — A McDonald’s restaurant in Oakland, Calif., has agreed to improve its COVID-19 safety protocols in a settlement announced Aug. 5 to resolve a public nuisance lawsuit filed by its employees.
SEATTLE — A trial court’s order confirming an arbitration award of damages for a Pump It Up franchisee due to lost profits was reversed because the arbitrator exceeded his authority when he relied on New York case law to reclassify lost profits as actual damages even though the lessor and franchisee agreed to resolve disputes under Washington law, a Washington appellate court held Aug. 16, remanding for the trial court to vacate the order and order a rehearing.
GEORGETOWN, Del. — A Delaware judge on Aug. 6 denied a franchisor’s motion to stay the proceedings in a lawsuit concerning liability for an alleged sexual assault by a franchisee’s former employee pending arbitration between the plaintiff customer and another franchisor defendant.
TAMPA, Fla. — After multiple rounds of briefing and a contrary view by a magistrate judge, a Florida federal judge on Aug. 25 granted final approval to the settlement of a class action over a 2019 data breach experienced by Checkers Drive-In Restaurants Inc., with the judge finding that the lead plaintiffs sufficiently establish standing to bring their claims, declining to adopt the magistrate’s recommendation to deny approval.
CINCINNATI — Sonic Corp. failed to establish the need for an interlocutory appeal of a trial court’s ruling granting class certification to a group of plaintiff financial institutions (FIs) in a consolidated class action over the fast food chain’s 2017 data breach, a Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled Aug. 24, finding that some of the defendant’s arguments pertain to causation rather than class certification.
EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. — A federal judge in Illinois in a partially redacted memorandum and order docketed July 30 denied motions for class certification and to strike declarations by a few franchisees in a lawsuit accusing a sandwich shop franchisor of wage suppression through the use of no-poach agreements with its franchisees.
BOSTON — The First Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Aug. 9, in a case concerning 7-Eleven franchisees who have claimed in a putative class complaint that they were misclassified as independent contractors, certified a question to the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court concerning the application of the state’s independent contractor test to relationships between a franchisor and franchisees.
ATLANTA — A panel majority of the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Aug. 6 upheld a Florida federal judge’s grant of summary judgment, agreeing that several accused domain names are confusingly similar to a trademark owned by a nationwide franchisor of hair removal services.
DENVER — The 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Aug. 5 dismissed an appeal by a Sonic franchisee and its affiliates of a preliminary injunction barring their use of the “Sonic” trademark, which was later converted by an Oklahoma federal judge to a permanent injunction.