DAYTON, Ohio — A day after a ruling ordering the original plaintiff to arbitrate her claims, the executor of an estate filed a first amended complaint on Sept. 25 in an Ohio federal court, seeking to represent the estate and former delivery drivers over allegations that the operators of Domino’s Pizza franchises violated the wage and hour provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) (Mary Buckles v. EUBA Corp., et al., No. 18-355, S.D. Ohio, 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 163399).
SAN FRANCISCO — A Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Sept. 24 issued an order certifying a question to the California Supreme Court regarding the application of Dynamex Operations West Inc. v. Superior Court retroactivity and issued an opinion re-establishing its remaining holdings from a May 2 opinion in a case involving a franchisor’s classification of franchisees as independent contractors (Gerardo Vazquez, et al. v. Jan-Pro Franchising International, Inc., No. 17-16096, 9th Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 28814).
SAN FRANCISCO — A settlement reached in one wage complaint against Jack In The Box franchisees brought under California’s Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA) doesn’t bar another putative class complaint alleging similar claims under wage-and-hour laws from proceeding, a federal judge in California ruled Sept. 23, denying the franchisees’ motion for summary judgment (Jennifer Garcia v. Central Coast Restaurants, Inc., et al., No. 18-2370, N.D. Calif., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 162588).
COLUMBUS, Ohio — An Ohio federal judge on Sept. 23 denied a franchisor’s motion to dismiss class allegations alleged by a delivery driver who was employed by a franchisee after determining that dismissal of the claims would be premature (Ronald Clark v. Pizza Baker Inc., et al., No. 18-157, S.D. Ohio, 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 161623).
DENVER — In a case between two publishers of magazines marketing the services and products of home-improvement contractors in Colorado, a federal judge in the state on Sept. 20 dismissed federal claims without opportunity to replead for being deficiently asserted and dismissed state law claims after declining to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over the claims (GDHI Marketing LLC v. Antsel Marketing LLC, et al., No. 18-2672, D. Colo., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 160800).
INDIANAPOLIS — An Indiana federal judge on Sept. 19 limited a pizza restaurant franchisor’s breach of contract and deception claims to conduct occurring after Feb. 17, 2017, in a case over payment of royalties under a franchise agreement because res judicata and claim preclusion apply because the claims should have been presented in a 2014 case (Noble Roman’s Inc. v. Russell Allison d/b/a Andy Alligator’s Fun Park, No. 18-03998, S.D. Ind., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 159679).
BROOKLYN, N.Y. — The National Labor Relations Board on Sept. 11 ruled that mandatory arbitration agreements between a franchisee of Wendy’s restaurants and employees do not violate Section 8(a)(1) of the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) because the agreements do not interfere with the employees’ right to access the board and its processes (Briad Wenco LLC and Fast Food Workers’ Committee, No. 29-CA-165942, NLRB).
COLUMBUS, Ohio — An Ohio federal judge on Sept. 11 denied a motion by the franchisor of Domino’s restaurants to stay a lawsuit by former delivery drivers that they violated the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) because the case is not similar to another lawsuit (Scott Honaker, et al. v. Wright Brothers Pizza Inc., et al., No. 18-01528, S.D. Ohio, 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 154647).
ST. LOUIS — An Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Sept. 17 vacated a District Court’s remand of a class complaint over the advertised length of massages offered by a massage and skincare franchisor, ruling that the franchisor needed to show only that the amount in controversy could exceed the Class Action Fairness Act’s (CAFA) $5 million threshold and only needed to do so within 30 days after it fully investigated the claims since the complainants never disclosed the amount in controversy (Mark Pirozzi, et al. v. Massage Envy Franchising, LLC, No. 19-8014, 8th Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 27912).
ATLANTA — An massage center franchisee didn’t violate the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) when it fired an employee for refusing to cancel her trip to a country where she may be exposed to Ebola, an 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled Sept. 12 in a case the panel said involved issues of first impression “as to the meaning of ‘regarded as having such an impairment’” in the ADA (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, et al. v. STME, LLC, Nos. 18-11121 and 18-12277, 11th Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 27499).
NEW HAVEN — A federal judge in Connecticut on Sept. 10 denied a class certification motion filed by a Wyndham hotel franchisee in a complaint against a Wyndham-approved supplier for violating the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), as amended by the Junk Fax Prevention Act (JFPA), and state law by sending unsolicited faxes after determining that individualized inquiry will predominate (Gorss Motels Inc. v. A.V.M. Enterprises, Inc., et al., No. 17-1078, D. Conn., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 153934).
WICHITA, Kan. — A fast food franchisor can’t be liable for failing to protect a Kansas franchisee’s worker from sexual assault or harassment as there has been no holding under Kansas law that the sale of franchise rights creates such a duty, a federal judge in Kansas ruled Sept. 3 (N.T. v. Taco Bell Corp., et al., No. 19-1028, D. Kan., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 149354).
ATLANTA — A franchisor’s decision to select its own counsel after its franchisee’s insurer first provided counsel in a harassment lawsuit brought by a former employee did not impact the franchisee’s liability for indemnification pursuant to an unambiguous clause in the parties’ franchise agreement, an 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled in a Sept. 5 per curiam opinion vacating a trial court’s ruling and remanding for further proceedings (Aaron’s Inc. v. MKW Investments, Inc., et al., No. 18-13666, 11th Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 26751).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — A franchisee of a fast food restaurant on Sept. 4 petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court to answer whether an agreement with an investor that allowed the investor “to circumvent and violate” federal immigration law is legal and enforceable under state law (Robert T. Chiu v. Jui-Chien Lin, No. 19-314, U.S. Sup., 2019 U.S. S. Ct. Briefs LEXIS 4070).
BROOKLYN, N.Y. — A federal judge in New York on Sept. 10 denied the request of the franchisor of Subway restaurants to arbitrate a putative class action concerning violations of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) because an agreement to arbitrate does not exist between the parties (Luis Arnaud v. Doctor’s Associates Inc., No. 18-3703, E.D. N.Y., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 153868).
ERIE, Pa. — Six days after a Wyoming couple announced their intention to dismiss Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) claims against a rent-to-own (RTO) franchisor over computer spyware, the plaintiffs and the franchisor on Sept. 16 jointly responded to an objection by a franchisee, who was not a party to the stipulation, telling a Pennsylvania federal court that there is “no live dispute” between them due to a confidential settlement (Crystal Byrd, et al. v. Aaron’s Inc., et al., No. 1:11-cv-00101, W.D. Pa.).
DENVER — The 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Sept. 6 upheld the denial of a motion filed by Dickey’s Barbecue Restaurants Inc. to compel arbitration of a franchisee’s breach of contract dispute because the parties never executed a franchise operating agreement that governed the operation of a restaurant (Campbell Investments LLC, et al. v. Dickey’s Barbecue Restaurants Inc., No. 18-4055, 10th Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 26980).
WILKESBORO, N.C. — A North Carolina judge on Aug. 23 released a redacted version of a ruling in which he found that a window franchisor engaged in numerous discovery infractions, notably repeated requests to claw back submitted documents, leading the judge to mostly grant motions by a group of franchisee plaintiffs to compel and to find asserted privileges waived in a lawsuit over alleged fraud and breach of contract related to their franchise agreements (Window World of Baton Rouge LLC, et al. v. Window World Inc., et al., Nos. 15 CVS 1 & 15 CVS 2, N.C. Super., Wilkes Co., 2019 NCBC LEXIS 54).
CONCORD, N.H. — In a personal injury lawsuit arising from a trip and fall at a restaurant, a federal judge in New Hampshire on Aug. 29 granted summary judgment to Burger King Corp., as franchisor and owner of the subject restaurant, on claims against it for negligence, vicarious liability for the negligent conduct of its agents and loss of consortium (Elizabeth Cram, et al. v. Burger King Corp., et al., No. 18-394, D. N.H., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 147124).
ST. LOUIS — An attempt by franchisors H&R Block Inc. and H&R Block Tax Services LLC (collectively, H&R Block) to point to a form document it claims was the same one a former branch manager would have agreed to is insufficient to show that there was an arbitration agreement in effect, the former employee tells the Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in a Sept. 3 appellee brief arguing in support of a trial court’s denial of a motion to compel arbitration in her Sherman Act class complaint (Melissa Ramsey, et al. v. H&R Block, Inc., et al., No. 19-2217, 8th Cir.).