ALLENTOWN, Pa. — A Pennsylvania federal judge on March 19 granted a hotel franchisor’s motion to compel arbitration, ruling that arbitration clauses in its franchise agreements with 90 franchisees are valid and enforceable, ordering individual arbitration on the franchisees’ allegations that the franchisor discriminated against Indian-American and South-Asian American franchisees and violated the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) with a $61.4 million kickback scheme.
DETROIT — A Michigan federal judge on March 31 denied a franchisor’s motion to compel arbitration, holding that its dispute with two franchisees over the operation of a virtual computer training platform did not implicate the parties’ franchise agreements. The dispute fell under the parties’ participation agreements (PAs), which do not contain an arbitration clause, the judge said.
NEWARK, N.J. — Domino’s pizza restaurant franchise delivery drivers on April 1 filed an unopposed motion in a New Jersey federal court for final approval of a $1.48 million class action settlement. The deal would resolve claims that the franchise owners and operators short-changed their delivery drivers in reimbursing them for the miles they drove their vehicles for work.
PORTLAND, Ore. — Rejecting new claims asserted in an amended complaint, an Oregon federal judge on March 31 dismissed with prejudice a woman’s suit against three hotel chains alleging violations of the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act (TVPRA) by profiting from her sex trafficking.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — A family failed to show that a hotel franchisor was vicariously or directly liable for injuries the father suffered in an alleged assault by a hotel franchisee employee and her boyfriend, a federal Tennessee judge concluded March 24 in granting summary judgment to the franchisor.
NEW HAVEN, Conn. — Because a Wyndham hotel franchisee gave a Wyndham-approved vendor its contact information, it could not argue that six fax advertisements it received from the vendor were unsolicited and in violation of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), as amended by the Junk Fax Prevention Act (JFPA), a Connecticut federal judge held March 26 in granting the vendor’s summary judgment motion and denying the franchisee’s motion.
SANTA ANA, Calif. — A federal judge in California on March 31 granted a pizza company’s motion to stay a putative class complaint over truck drivers’ cell phone expenses pending appeal of the denial of its motion to compel arbitration.
SAN FRANCISCO — A franchisee of Outback Steakhouse restaurants in Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico and California and its parent and affiliated companies on April 1 filed a notice of appeal in the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals challenging a lower court’s finding that they have failed to plausibly allege “direct physical loss of or damage to” their property to trigger coverage under the policy in a coronavirus coverage suit.
NEW YORK — Trade groups that together with the former U.S. secretary of Labor who was appointed under President Donald J. Trump appealed a trial court’s ruling for various states deeming the portions of the U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) final rule revising its regulations interpreting vertical joint employer liability as “arbitrary and capricious,” in conflict with the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and “flawed in just about every respect” filed an opposition on April 5 to the recently appointed secretary’s motion to hold the appeal in abeyance.
NEW YORK — A New York federal magistrate judge on March 18 recommended that a Mitsubishi dealership franchisor be dismissed from a terminated franchisee employee’s suit alleging age and race discrimination. The magistrate judge said the franchisor had not been named in the underlying Equal Employment Opportunity Commission charge and was not the plaintiff’s employer or joint employer.
TRENTON, N.J. — New Jersey Superior Court Appellate Division on March 30 reversed a trial court’s ruling denying reconsideration of a motion to compel arbitration in an injury lawsuit against a trampoline park and its franchisor and remanded the case for arbitration, noting the state high court’s reversal of an earlier opinion on which the trial court had relied and holding that the unavailability of the arbiter specified in the arbitration provision does not make the provision unenforceable.
CHICAGO — An Illinois federal judge on March 26 dismissed all claims against Planet Fitness Inc. and related entities in a putative class action case alleging that the chain unlawfully charged membership fees while restricting access during the COVID-19 pandemic, ruling that one named plaintiff was subject to an arbitration provision within a membership agreement and that the other named plaintiff’s membership agreement was with a party that could not be joined to the action.
DETROIT — A Michigan federal judge on March 26 upheld claims against General Motors LLC (GM) brought by two dealerships under a federal antitrust law and a federal law protecting automobile dealership franchises from manufacturers’ bad faith actions. But she agreed to dismiss the remaining claims, including allegations of racial discrimination over the application of a family discount program for GM employees and former employees.
INDIANAPOLIS — A Bloomington, Ind., Subway franchisee will pay $28,700 to end a disability discrimination lawsuit filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in a federal court in Indiana after the sandwich shop allegedly rejected a hard-of-hearing job applicant due to his hearing and speech impairments, the EEOC announced March 25.
SAN FRANCISCO — The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on March 25 denied a petition for rehearing or rehearing en banc filed by a cleaning company franchisor after the appellate court issued an amended opinion on Feb. 2 vacating a summary judgment ruling for the franchisor and remanding for the district court to consider whether the janitors are employees under the Dynamex Operations West, Inc. v. Superior Court standard in the first instance.
SEATTLE — A man who registered several internet domains incorporating McDonald’s Corp.'s valid “McD” trademark, did so with a bad faith intend to profit by seeking to obtain payment from the fast food chain in exchange for his delivery of misdirected emails, a Washington federal judge ruled on March 23, granting summary judgment to McDonald’s on its cybersquatting counterclaim against the man.
CINCINNATI — A Kuwaiti car dealer in a March 22 appellant brief urges the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals to find that the Motor Vehicle Franchise Contract Arbitration Fairness Act (the Fairness Act) applies to foreign dealers and that a district court reversibly erred by ordering it to arbitrate breach of contract claims against Ford Motor Co. rather than first evaluating the claims’ arbitrability.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The District of Columbia Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on March 19 granted motions for leave to intervene filed by the franchisor and franchisees in an appeal by two unions seeking review of the National Labor Relations Board’s orders in a joint employment dispute.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Supreme Court on March 22 denied a petition for a writ of certiorari filed by two commercial cleaning business franchisees seeking resolution of a circuit split and a decision on whether a passing reference to a set of arbitration rules constitutes “clear and unmistakable” intent to delegate arbitrability issues to an arbitrator, rather than a court.
BRONX, N.Y. — A New York state court justice on Feb. 26 denied a motion to vacate a summary judgment upon default in favor of Dunkin' Donuts Franchising LLC, ruling that the action in a case alleging personal injuries from a fall in a driveway used by several businesses lacked merit against Dunkin'.