Mealey's Franchise

  • March 05, 2020

    $800,000 Wage Settlement For Domino’s Drivers Granted Final Approval

    CHICAGO — An Illinois federal judge on Feb. 27 granted final approval of an $807,500 collective and class settlement for Domino’s Pizza franchisee delivery drivers who claim that the franchisee improperly took a tip credit from the wages of drivers and that drivers were not adequately reimbursed for their delivery-related expenses, resulting in failure to pay minimum wage (Samantha Young, et al. v. Rolling in the Dough, Inc., No. 17-7825, N.D. Ill.).

  • March 04, 2020

    Class Denied, Collective Granted In Franchisee Delivery Drivers’ Tip Pool Suit

    WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. — A federal judge in Pennsylvania on Feb. 21 conditionally certified a collective of delivery drivers for a chicken wings franchisee who claim that they were forced to share tips with kitchen workers in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and state law but denied certification of a class, finding that the drivers were unable to show commonality and predominance (Jacob Wilson, et al. v. Wings Over Happy Valley MDF, LLC, et al., No. 17-915, M.D. Pa., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 30207).

  • March 04, 2020

    Excess Insurer: Suits Against McDonald’s Franchisee Arise From Separate Occurrences

    NEW YORK — A commercial liability umbrella insurer sued a commercial general liability primary insurer in a New York court on March 3, seeking a declaration that two wrongful death lawsuits over the consumption of contaminated food and beverages that were allegedly served by a McDonald’s franchisee employee who was infected with the hepatitis A virus (HAV) arise from separate occurrences and, therefore, that the amount the primary insurer paid in connection with one of the lawsuits does not reduce any of its per-occurrence limits applicable to the second action (RSUI Indemnity Company v. Aspen Specialty Insurance Company, No. 651439/2020, N.Y. Sup., New York Co.).

  • March 03, 2020

    Tim Hortons Franchisees’ Group Sues Equity Group Over Sole Supplier Scheme

    MIAMI — An association of Tim Hortons franchisees on Feb. 27 sued the equity group that purchased the Canadian restaurant chain’s franchise system in federal court in Florida, contending that the equity group’s scheme to require franchisees to buy coffee and materials from sole suppliers is resulting in price gouging that is allowing the group and the suppliers to reap “outrageous profits” at the expense of the franchisees (Great White North Franchisee Association-USA Inc. v. Tim Hortons USA Inc., et al., No. 20-cv-20878, S.D. Fla.).

  • March 02, 2020

    California High Court Denies Question Expansion in Suit Over Dynamex Retroactivity

    SAN FRANCISCO — The California Supreme Court issued an order on Feb. 26 denying a request by franchisees to expand the question of California law being considered by the high court after the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals asked it to decide whether the ruling in Dynamex Operations West, Inc. v. Superior Court is to be applied retroactively (Gerardo Vazquez, et al. v. Jan-Pro Franchising International, Inc., No. S258191, Calif. Sup.).

  • February 28, 2020

    New York, Other States Sue DOL Over Narrowing Joint Employment Standard

    NEW YORK — The U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) final rule revising its regulations interpreting the joint employer status under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) threaten protections for low- and middle-income workers, make those workers more vulnerable to wage theft and cost them more than $1 billion annually, New York, 16 other states and the District of Columbia allege in a complaint filed Feb. 26 in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York (New York, et al. v. Eugene Scalia, et al., No. 20-1689, S.D. N.Y.).

  • February 28, 2020

    Franchisees Accuse Curves Franchisor Of Breaching Agreements

    WACO, Texas — Thirty-two franchisees filed a breach of contract complaint on Feb. 7 in a Texas federal court against the franchisor of 30-minute fitness and weight loss centers because it and its related entities knew they had an unsustainable system but hid that information from franchisees (Bonita Arruda, et al. v. Curves International, Inc., et al., No. 20-92, W.D. Texas).

  • February 27, 2020

    Judge Awards $3.6M To Home Services Franchisor In Trademark, Copyright Dispute

    WACO, Texas — A federal judge in Texas on Feb. 19 awarded $3.6 million to a franchise company of home services brands and one of its subsidiaries in their trademark and copyright dispute with an employment company (ProTradeNet LLC v. Predictive Profiles, Inc., c/w Predictive Profiles, Inc. v. ProTradeNet LLC, et al., No. 18-38, W.D. Texas).

  • February 25, 2020

    Rent-To-Own Operators Settle FTC Violations Over Noncompete Agreements

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Federal Trade Commission announced Feb. 21 that it reached settlements with three rent-to-own operators (RTOs)over violations of federal antitrust law through the operators’ negotiation and execution of reciprocal purchase agreements that affected certain markets (In the matter of Aaron’s, Inc., No. 191-0074, In the matter of Buddy’s Newco, LLC, No. 191-0074, and In the matter of Rent-A-Center, Inc., No. 191-0074, FTC).

  • February 25, 2020

    National Labor Relations Board Issues Joint Employer Final Rule

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — The National Labor Relations Board on Feb. 25 announced that its joint employer final rule will be issued on Feb. 26 and will restore the joint-employer standard applied by the NLRB prior to Browning-Ferris, 362 NLRB No. 186 (2015).

  • February 24, 2020

    Franchisor, Franchisees Ask 6th Circuit To Affirm Arbitration For Wage Case

    CINCINNATI — A lawsuit by former Domino’s employees who accuse the franchisor and its franchisees of conspiring to suppress wages and limit employment opportunities was properly sent to arbitration by the trial court as the arbitration agreement delegates all arbitrability issues to an arbitrator, the franchisor claims in a Feb. 20 appellee brief filed in the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals (Derek Piersing, et al. v. Domino’s Pizza Franchising LLC, et al., No. 19-2388, 6th Cir.).

  • February 21, 2020

    Judge Approves Settlement In Employee’s Lawsuit Against Pizza Hut Owner

    JACKSON, Miss. — A Mississippi federal judge on Feb. 14 approved a settlement for $5,000 in an employee’s lawsuit against the owner of a Pizza Hut franchise and the owner and manager of an apartment complex where the employee suffered injuries from an assault by a third party while delivering pizza (Jemuel Gates v. YUM! Brands, Inc., et al., No. 19-830, S.D. Miss.).

  • February 21, 2020

    Panel: Franchisee’s Case Falls Under Mandate Of Forum-Selection Clauses

    RALEIGH, N.C. — A trial court erred in denying a motion to dismiss or transfer a franchisee’s declaratory judgment against the franchisor of smoothies stores over an alleged breach of a multiunit agreement and assignment agreement, the North Carolina Court of Appeals held Feb. 4, because the agreements contain mandatory forum-selection clauses (S&S Family Business Corp., et al. v. Clean Juice Franchising, LLC, No. COA19-264, N.C. App., 2020 N.C. App. LEXIS 128).

  • February 21, 2020

    Federal Judge Dismisses In Part Claims Against Laser Tag Facilities Franchisor

    MILWAUKEE — A Wisconsin federal judge on Feb. 13 granted in part a motion to dismiss and dismissed common-law misrepresentation claims against a franchisor of laser tag facilities, its affiliate and their owners under the economic loss doctrine (Steven Falk, et al. v. Joseph N. Wheeler Jr., et al., No. 19-1168, E.D. Wis., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 26575).

  • February 21, 2020

    No Triable Issues Exist On Washington Consumer Protection Act Claim, Judge Says

    SEATTLE — No triable issues remain as to a restaurant operation business’s Washington Consumer Protection Act (CPA) claim over use of a “Bok Bok” mark, a Washington federal judge held Feb. 14, citing an order granting summary judgment to the business on its Lanham Act claims and granting in part its request for a permanent injunction (BBC Group NV LLC v. Island Life Restaurant Group LLC, et al., No. 18-1011, W.D. Wash., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 26317).

  • February 21, 2020

    7-Eleven Franchisees May Proceed With Claims Over Unpaid Reimbursements

    LOS ANGELES — A federal judge in California on Feb. 19 granted summary judgment to franchisor 7-Eleven Inc. on unpaid overtime claims brought by franchisees on behalf of themselves and a class, finding that the franchisees failed to provide sufficient evidence; however, the judge permitted the franchisees to proceed with their claims seeking unpaid reimbursements (Serge Haitayan, et al. v. 7-Eleven, Inc., No. 17-7454, C.D. Calif.).

  • February 20, 2020

    Convenience Store Operators’ Federal Wage Claim Survives Judgment On Pleadings Motion

    GREENSBORO, N.C. — A federal judge in North Carolina on Feb. 18 partially granted a motion for partial judgment on the pleadings filed by a convenience store franchisor and the landlord for a North Carolina location but allowed the franchisees, who allege that they were misclassified and were really employees, to proceed with their federal claim seeking unpaid overtime along with a claim for national origin discrimination (Amro Elsayed, et al. v. Family Fare LLC, et al., No. 18-1045, M.D. N.C., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 27064).

  • February 20, 2020

    Motel 6 Guest List Settlement Granted Approval Over Attorney General’s Protests

    PHOENIX — A settlement agreement in an Arizona federal class lawsuit over motel guest lists being voluntarily turned over to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents by Motel 6 Operating L.P. and G6 Hospitality LLC, doing business as Motel 6, that provides up to $10 million was granted final approval on Feb. 18 over protests by the Arizona attorney general who argued in a Feb. 6 amicus brief that the settlement provided the majority of the settlement funds to cy pres recipients (Jane V., et al. v. Motel 6 Operating L.P., et al., No. 18-242, D. Ariz.).

  • February 18, 2020

    JPMDL Denies Centralization Of Sex Trafficking Cases Against Hotel Franchises

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPMDL) on Feb. 5 refused to consolidate and centralize 21 lawsuits brought by sex trafficking victims against a number of different hotel owners, franchisors and franchisees under the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008 (TVPRA), finding that unique issues regarding each plaintiff’s allegations predominate and that there is no common defendant across all of the lawsuits (In re:  Hotel Industry Sex Trafficking Litigation, MDL 2928, JPMDL, 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 19882).

  • February 14, 2020

    Judge Issues Permanent Injunction To Franchisees For Breach Of Contract

    CHICAGO — In-home care franchisees breached their franchise agreements, a federal judge in Illinois held Feb. 11, rejecting the franchisees’ fraudulent inducement defense and entering a permanent injunction preventing them from operating their business (BrightStar Franchising LLC v. Northern Nevada Care, Inc., et al., No. 17-9213, N.D. Ill., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 23209).

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