NEW BERN, N.C. — A North Carolina federal judge on March 3 granted a motion for final approval of a $3 million settlement fund plus attorney fees in a class and collective action suit by delivery drivers who allege that a Domino’s Pizza franchisee violated federal and state wage laws by not sufficiently reimbursing them for expenses.
MILWAUKEE — A Wisconsin appeals panel on March 9 held that a commercial insurer does not owe employee benefits liability coverage for six underlying class action lawsuits brougt against its restaurant franchise operations owner insured, affirming a lower court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of the insurer.
SANTA ANA, Calif. — Boiling Crab Franchise Co. LLC sued Cajun Boiling Crab Inc. and related parties in a California federal court on March 4, alleging that its “knock-off” restaurants deliberately infringe federally registered trademarks and constitute violations of federal and California unfair competition laws.
CINCINNATI — Following the filing of briefs in a dispute between the seller and manufacturer of a line of countertops over whether the Michigan Franchise Investment Law (MFIL) prohibits the enforcement of forum-selection clauses, the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Feb. 25 scheduled oral arguments for April 20.
HARTFORD, Conn. — A Connecticut federal judge granted an urgent care facility franchisor partial judgment on the pleadings on Feb. 24 in a dispute over the purchase of certain franchises in the plaintiff’s territory, dismissing claims alleging violation of antitrust law and state franchise and business law and claims including tortious interference and abuse of process.
SAN DIEGO — Four franchising-related associations on Feb. 16 gave notice in a federal suit challenging the constitutionality of California’s “ABC Test” that they intend to file a first amended complaint in time to render the state’s pending motion to dismiss the original complaint moot, saying that the court should deny the motion to dismiss on those grounds. The state argues, among other things, that the ABC Test does not interfere with any congressional objective in the Federal Trade Commission’s Franchise Rule or the Lanham Act.
LOS ANGELES — A federal judge in California on Feb. 23 issued a two-page order declining to stay a case by 7-Eleven franchisees seeking unpaid reimbursements or to certify its order denying class certification for interlocutory appeal, citing the reasons provided by the franchisor in its opposition.
CHICAGO — A federal judge in Illinois on Feb. 22 denied a commercial general liability insurer’s motion to dismiss a breach of contract and declaratory relief lawsuit brought by McDonald’s Corp. and former and current franchise owners seeking coverage for an underlying class action injunction alleging that they are taking inadequate steps to contain COVID-19 in the workplace.
FORT MYERS, Fla. — A Florida federal judge on Feb. 16 refused to dismiss a woman’s suit against the franchisor, franchisee and operators of a Days Inn Hotel alleging that she was a victim of sex trafficking at the hotel over a three-year period. The judge denied three defendants’ motion to dismiss, rejecting multiple arguments, including that the plaintiff failed to state a claim against them.
MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. — A Ben & Jerry’s franchisee will pay $21,360 to end claims of wage and child labor violations, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) announced Feb. 18.
YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio — McDonald’s discriminated by redlining a Black franchisee and retaliated when he protested, a franchisee alleges in a Feb. 16 civil rights complaint filed in a federal court in Ohio.
LOS ANGELES — A Los Angeles McDonald’s franchisee has been cited $125,913 for committing labor violations and retaliation after it fired four workers for reporting unsafe conditions during the novel coronavirus pandemic, the California Labor commissioner announced Feb. 17.
CLEVELAND — The lead financial institution (FI) plaintiffs in a consolidated class action over a 2017 data breach experienced by Sonic Corp. filed a motion in Ohio federal court on Feb. 10, seeking to quash Sonic’s subpoena for documents in a data breach suit against fellow fast food chain Arby’s Restaurant Group Inc., characterizing the subpoena as an attempt “to circumvent the legal process for obtaining class member discovery” and arguing that the documents sought are irrelevant and privileged.
SAN FRANCISCO — A cleaning company franchisor that operates a “three-tier” franchising model and was sued by the third tier for unpaid wages filed a petition on Feb. 16 in the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals seeking a panel rehearing and rehearing en banc after the appellate court issued an amended opinion on Feb. 2 vacating a summary judgment ruling for the franchisor and remanded 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, arguing that the wrong standard was applied.
LAS VEGAS — A Nevada federal judge on Feb. 12 agreed to remand a proposed class action against the Red Robin restaurant franchise for shorting customers by serving them 14 ounces of Stella Artois beer in a 16-ounce glass, noting that the corporation’s sales figures did not reach the jurisdictional amount-in-controversy threshold required by the Class Action Fairness Act (CAFA).
ATLANTA — The International Franchise Association and Florida Chamber of Commerce filed separate amicus curiae briefs on Feb. 3 in the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals supporting arguments by Burger King’s corporate entities that a lower court correctly held that the fast food giant and its franchisees were incapable of conspiring to ensure that the franchisees did not recruit or hire each other’s employees.
CAMDEN, N.J. — A New Jersey federal judge on Feb. 8 allowed a Chevrolet dealer franchisee’s claim that General Motors LLC imposed more than $670,000 in unlawful chargebacks against it to proceed to a nonjury trial but entered judgment on all other claims in the dealer’s suit alleging that GM illegally terminated their franchise agreement over disputed warranty reimbursement claims.
FRANKFORT, Ky. — The Kentucky Court of Appeals on Feb. 5 affirmed the dismissal of a woman’s fraudulent misrepresentation claims against a commercial cleaning system franchisor and others for lack of standing. It concluded that the woman’s limited liability company, which entered the franchise agreement, should have been the party to file suit.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — A National Labor Relations Board panel majority on Feb. 11 denied reconsideration of its July 29 supplemental decision and order in which it vacated its 2015 decision in the case that had expanded the standard for assessing joint-employer status under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) while the lone dissenting member of the panel said the majority’s decision “def[ied]” instructions by the District of Columbia Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals.
SAN DIEGO — A California federal judge on Feb. 4 granted a motion to dismiss a consumer’s claims that Target Corp. failed to disclose that optometrists at Target Optical stores were not “independent” because the consumer failed to establish that Target had a duty to disclose to her but declined to dismiss her claims that Target participated in misrepresentations regarding the independence of the optometrists.