CHICAGO — A former employee of McDonald’s can proceed with her lawsuit that a no-hire clause in franchise agreements violates the Sherman Act, an Illinois federal judge said April 24, refusing to dismiss (Stephanie Turner v. McDonald’s USA, LLC, et al., No. 19-5524, N.D. Ill.).
NEWARK, N.J. — An association representing more than 50 trampoline park franchises filed suit against their franchisor on April 23 in New Jersey federal court, asserting that they have been “unilaterally and unfairly forced” to implement systemwide changes that impact their profitability (APFA Inc. v. UATP Management LLC, No. 20-5007, D. N.J.).
SAN FRANCISCO — In a March 26 notice filed with a California federal judge, an objector to a recently approved settlement of class allegations against a massage parlor franchisor announced his intent to challenge the agreement with the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals (Baerbel McKinney-Drobnis, et al. v. Massage Envy Franchising LLC, No. 4:16-cv-06450, N.D. Calif.).
BOSTON — A federal judge in Massachusetts on April 22 granted a plaintiff partial summary judgment, agreeing that a franchise operator is liable for breach of contract for terminating its lease but deeming the question of damages unripe for disposition (Jenny B Realty LLC v. Danielson LLC, et al., No. 18-40067, D. Mass., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 70892).
ATLANTA — A restaurant management company operating four brands of restaurants in Georgia is liable for a sexually hostile work environment and retaliation after a cook at one location was repeatedly harassed by another cook and then fired when she complained, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission alleges in an April 22 complaint filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. WRIG Management, LLC, No. 20-1707, N.D. Ga.).
NEW HAVEN, Conn. — A motel in an April 17 memorandum requests class certification and appointment of it as class representative in a Connecticut federal suit against Sprint Solutions Inc. for federal law claims under the Junk Fax Prevention Act concerning five out of nine unsolicited fax ads (Gorss Motels Inc. v. Sprint Communications Company, L.P. et al., No. 17-546, D. Conn.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — In an April 15 complaint, a commercial cleaning franchisor and its franchisee assert violations of the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), 5 U.S.C. §§ 501 et seq., in connection with United States Small Business Administration (SBA)’s oversight of the Temporary Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Loan Program; two days later, the plaintiffs requested a temporary restraining order (TRO) in the case (Jani-King International Inc., et al. v. United States Small Business Administration, et al., No. 20-989, D. D.C.).
PHILADELPHIA — A federal judge in Pennsylvania on April 15 confirmed a $1,283,333.37 arbitration award in favor of the franchisor of Checkers and Rally’s restaurants (Checkers Drive-In Restaurants v. Jignesh Pandya, No. 20-405, E.D. Pa., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 66181).
BALTIMORE — Claims for fraud and violations of Virginia and Maryland franchise law against the franchisor of Poke Bar restaurants are subject to arbitration under the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA) based on a franchise agreement’s clause, a Maryland federal judge held April 13 (Fusion Capital 1, LLC, et al. v. JB Brothers, Inc., et al., No. 19-2947, D. Md., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 64584).
RICHMOND, Va. — A per curiam panel of the Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on April 15 reinstated allegations that a franchisor wrongfully interfered in an arrangement between a franchisee and his former business partner (Michael Musselwhite, et al. v. Mid-Atlantic Restaurant Corporation, et al., No. 18-2435, 4th Cir.).
SAN FRANCISCO — Volkswagen franchise dealerships argue in their April 13 opening brief to the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals that they were direct victims of an alleged emissions fraud committed by a German multinational engineering and technology company and its subsidiary ([In re: Volkswagen “Clean Diesel” Marketing, Sales Practices, and Products Liability Litigation] J. Bertolet, Inc., et al. v. Robert Bosch, LLC, et al., No. 20-15034, 9th Cir.).
ST. LOUIS — Franchisors H&R Block Inc. and H&R Block Tax Services LLC (collectively, H&R Block) and a former branch manager on April 3 notified the Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals that they had agreed to voluntarily dismiss, without prejudice, the franchisors’ appeal seeking reversal of the trial court’s denial of their motion to compel arbitration in the manager’s Sherman Act class complaint (Melissa Ramsey, et al. v. H&R Block, Inc., et al., No. 19-2217, 8th Cir.).
SEATTLE — A federal judge in Washington issued a preliminary injunction on April 7 enjoining former franchisees of a tax preparation service from using any marks associated with JTH Tax LLC and Siempretax+ LLC for the duration of their breach of contract case (JTH Tax LLC, et al. v. Lorraine McHugh, et al., No. 20-329, W.D. Wash., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 61139).
DENVER — A Colorado federal judge on April 13 granted a motion for preliminary approval of a more than $500,000 settlement for claims made by delivery drivers of franchisees of Domino’s Pizza after determining that the proposed settlement was honestly and fairly negotiated (Sheretta Murray v. Tips Inc., No. 18-937, D. Col., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 63923).
ERIE, Pa. — More than six months after the plaintiffs in a computer spyware lawsuit stipulated to dismiss their claims against a rent-to-own (RTO) franchisor, a Pennsylvania federal judge on March 27 granted dismissal of Aaron’s Inc., specifying that this did not affect the plaintiffs’ privacy claims against the franchisee from which they obtained their computer (Crystal Byrd, et al. v. Aaron’s Inc., et al., No. 1:11-cv-00101, W.D. Pa.).
MINNEAPOLIS — In an April 9 decision, a federal judge in Minnesota enjoined several former franchisees from using or displaying the “Mainstream Boutique” trademarks, copyrights and “Mac and Me” exclusive products for a period of two years or until further modification by the court (Mainstream Fashions Franchising Inc. v. All These Things LLC, et al., No. 19-2953, D. Minn., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 62673).
FORT MYERS, Fla. — A Florida federal judge on April 9 allowed civil theft, specific performance, breach of contract and common-law fraud claims to proceed in a case over the sale of restaurant franchises from one group of holding companies to another (QSR Southern Group, LLC, et al. v. A&A Restaurant Holdings, LLC, et al., No. 19-781, M.D. Fla., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 62604).
ST. LOUIS — The former owner of 7-Eleven stores in Oklahoma will pay $160,000 to nine former employees to end a lawsuit by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission alleging that it violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) by firing workers who missed more than three days of work and didn’t qualify for leave, according to a consent decree approved April 7 by a federal judge in Oklahoma (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Brown-Thompson General Partnership, No. 16-1142, W.D. Okla.).
ST. LOUIS — A federal judge in Missouri on April 3 granted in part motions by the franchisor of a virtual health care platform, its founder and a former senior vice-president of sales and marketing to dismiss a claim for fraud in the inducement with leave for a former franchisee to amend portions of the claim as well as other claims (Charles Fabius, et al. v. Medinexo USA, LLC, et al., No. 19-2526, E.D. Mo., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 59029).
OKLAHOMA CITY — A janitorial franchisor sued by the U.S. secretary of Labor for Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) violations failed to overcome assertions of the informant’s and deliberative-process privileges in the redaction of documents related to the investigation of employee and franchisee designations, an Oklahoma federal judge ruled April 2, denying the franchisor’s motion to compel (Eugene Scalia, et al. v. Jani-King of Oklahoma, Inc., No. 5:16-cv-00113, W.D. Okla., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 59479).