RALEIGH, N.C. — A federal judge in North Carolina on May 12 denied a hotel franchisee’s motion for judgment on an architecture firm’s counterclaim for breach of an agreement to pay for design services, finding that emails between the parties from 2008 cannot be considered because they are not integral to or relied on by the firm in its counterclaim.
PHOENIX — In a trademark infringement action, a federal magistrate judge in Arizona on May 13 sustained a bathroom remodeling franchisor’s objections to a former franchisee’s discovery requests for the profit and loss statements of a nonparty franchisee, the franchisor’s financial statements and documents related to agreements between the franchisor and the nonparty franchisee.
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — Following a bench trial, a Florida federal judge awarded a mobile dental equipment repair franchisor nearly $97,000 in damages on May 14 due to a franchisee shutting down two Virginia franchises without consent. The judge refused to reduce the amount to present value, holding that the franchisee produced no evidence regarding the proper calculation method.
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — The Illinois Supreme Court on May 20 affirmed a lower court’s ruling that an insurer has a duty to defend against class action claims that its insured violated the Biometric Information Privacy Act by disclosing fingerprint data to a third party without consent, further affirming that the policy’s violation of statutes exclusion does not bar coverage.
NEW YORK — A former Wyndham Hotel Group franchisee “cannot now complain about receiving advertisements of the very type it expressly agreed to receive” through its franchise agreements with Wyndham, the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled May 13 on class allegations that Lands’ End violated the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) by sending unsolicited fax advertisements, affirming a federal judge’s grant of summary judgment that dismissed the case.
CONCORD, N.H. — A fitness center franchisee stated a plausible claim for tortious interference, a New Hampshire federal judge concluded May 14 in denying Planet Fitness’ motion for judgment on the pleadings to dismiss the counterclaim in a breach of contract suit over the development of franchise locations in Mexico.
FORT MYERS, Fla. — A Florida federal judge on May 10 refused to dismiss the fifth of five lawsuits filed against the franchisors, franchisees and operators of five hotels brought by a woman alleging that she was a victim of sex trafficking at the hotels over a three-year period. He rejected the defendants’ arguments that the allegations were impermissibly vague and failed to state a claim.
FORTH WORTH, Texas — An association that represents trampoline park franchises failed to demonstrate associational standing to pursue claims for relief against a franchisor that it alleges made unilateral changes to the franchise agreements that affect profitability, a Texas federal judge ruled May 6, granting a motion to dismiss the case.
SAN DIEGO — A federal magistrate judge in California on May 12 granted in part a motion to compel discovery brought by the plaintiffs in a putative class action accusing a hotel franchise of violating California’s unfair competition law (UCL) and other state statutes, writing that the bulk of the franchise’s objections to discovery were unfounded and ordering sanctions against it for raising objections to discovery that the court previously said were unmeritorious.
NEWARK, N.J. — A New Jersey federal judge issued a temporary injunction on May 6 to enforce tax preparation franchisor Jackson Hewitt’s post-termination noncompete and nonsolicitation restrictions against a former franchisee but limited the injunction to 18 months instead of the requested two years.
SAN DIEGO — The state of California on April 30 moved to dismiss an amended complaint filed by four franchising-related associations challenging the constitutionality of the state’s “ABC Test” to determine whether a worker is an employee or independent contractor. The state argues to a federal court that the associations fail to allege a case or controversy and lack standing.
PITTSBURGH — A no-hire provision ancillary to a services contract between a logistics provider and a shipping company is unenforceable because it unreasonably restrains trade, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled April 29 in an issue it noted was one of first impression.
DAYTON, Ohio — A federal judge in Ohio on May 7 declined to follow an August U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) opinion letter adopting the “approximation” standard commonly used in the pizza industry for reimbursing delivery drivers for expenses and instead ruled that the employers must pay drivers for their actual expenses or reimburse pursuant to the Internal Revenue Service’s mileage rate.
CLEVELAND — In adopting in part and modifying in part a magistrate judge’s report and recommendation on May 7, an Ohio federal judge found a professional softball league liable to the franchise team it sued for breach of contract for more than $480,000 in attorney fees and costs. The judge also held the league and its attorneys jointly and severally liable for more than $287,000 in attorney fees and costs for discovery sanctions.
ORLANDO, Fla. — A Florida federal jury awarded a former Burger King cashier more than $2 million in compensatory and punitive damages on May 4, finding that a franchisee of the fast food giant illegally fired her because she had breathing problems and was fitted with a visible trachea tube in her neck.
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Finding no showing of immediate, irreparable injury, a federal judge in California on May 4 denied a motion for a preliminary injunction brought by small businesses and franchisees against the seller of bone density improvement center franchises in their lawsuit alleging claims including fraud, negligent misrepresentation and violation of California’s unfair competition law (UCL).
EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. — An Illinois federal judge on May 3 refused to reconsider an order excluding a former employee’s expert report from a proposed class action over a sandwich chain franchisor’s contractual no-poach agreement, finding that the former employee’s motion did not demonstrate “a manifest error of law or fact” that would warrant reconsideration.
MIAMI — Although BMW of North America LLC (BMW NA) had a duty to supplement its discovery submissions to the plaintiff in a franchise agreement lawsuit to include pertinent documents subsequently filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, a Florida federal magistrate judge on April 24 held that sanctions against the automaker were unwarranted, denying the plaintiff franchisee’s motion to that end.
MINNEAPOLIS — In an April 26 order, a federal judge in Minnesota ruled that there is “no reason” to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over contract claims leveled by a franchisor in view of the franchisor’s voluntary dismissal of allegations of trademark infringement.
COLUMBUS, Ohio — Two sex trafficking survivors demonstrated that corporate records and other documents sought from Wyndham Hotels & Resorts Inc. and its subsidiaries related to the company’s general knowledge of sex trafficking occurring are relevant to their claims of liability under a federal sex trafficking law, an Ohio federal magistrate judge ruled April 30, granting the plaintiffs’ motion to compel.