PORTLAND, Ore. — An Oregon federal judge on Sept. 8 dismissed six hotel chains from a woman's suit alleging violations of the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act (TVPRA) by profiting from sex trafficking but allowed amendment as to four of the chains (A.B. v. Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc., et al., No. 19-1992, D. Ore., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 163412).
BOSTON — A federal judge in Massachusetts on Sept. 10 awarded summary judgment to 7-Eleven Inc. on claims brought by four franchisees who sought class certification for being misclassified as contractors rather than employees, finding that the Federal Trade Commission's regulatory regime for franchises governs over the state's independent contractor law (Dhananjay Patel, et al. v. 7-Eleven Inc., et al., No. 17-11414, D. Mass., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 165057).
SEATTLE — A franchisor of direct marketing services was granted summary judgment on a franchisee's contract, statutory and common-law counterclaims by a Washington federal judge on Sept. 8 because there is no evidence the franchisor marked up its products and services (Money Mailer, LLC v. Wade G. Brewer, No. 15-1215, W.D. Wash., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 163630).
ATLANTA — Parents failed to show that actions by a franchisee of Chick-Fil-A in the cleaning process for a playground resulted in injuries to their minor son, a Georgia appeals panel ruled Aug. 20, upholding summary judgment to the franchisee on negligence theories (Craig Stern, et al. v. David Pettis, et al., A20A1261, Ga. App., 2nd Div., 2020 Ga. App. LEXIS 456).
EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. — Finding that both sides "were in the wrong" in a disagreement over discovery related to newly revealed declarants in an employment antitrust putative class action, an Illinois federal judge on Sept. 4 partly granted Jimmy John's Franchise LLC's motion to stay third-party discovery on the declarants, while extending a deadline for the lead plaintiff to conduct additional discovery on some of the declarants without broadening the overall scope of discovery (Donald Conrad, et al. v. Jimmy John's Franchise, LLC, et al., No. 18-133, S.D. Ill., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 162146).
NEW YORK — A federal judge in New York on Sept. 8 deemed 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" but found the portion making nonsubstantive changes to horizonal joint employer liability permissible and severable (New York, et al. v. Eugene Scalia, et al., No. 20-1689, S.D. N.Y., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 163498).
PHILADELPHIA — A former franchisee of 7-Eleven on Sept. 3 was denied reconsideration by a Pennsylvania federal judge on the dismissal of his breach of contract lawsuit because Section 2 of the franchise agreements did not impose a duty on 7-Eleven to support an independent contractor claim (Azmi Takiedine v. 7-Eleven, Inc., No. 17-4518, E.D. Pa., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 161103).
PHILADELPHIA — Reconsideration of a $159,566.78 award to 7-Eleven Inc. on its breach of contract and breach of guaranty counterclaims against a former franchisee and a guarantor is not needed, a Pennsylvania federal judge said Sept. 3, finding that a merchandising evaluation "was inconsequential" as Section 2 of the franchise agreements did not impose any duties on 7-Eleven (Anthony Chong, et al. v. 7-Eleven, Inc., No. 18-1542, E.D. Pa., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 161110).
SAN FRANCISCO — In the latest of a series of amicus curiae briefs recently filed in a case before the California Supreme Court regarding whether the ruling in Dynamex Operations West, Inc. v. Superior Court should be applied retroactively, the Taxicab Paratransit Association of California (TPAC) in an Aug. 28 brief argues in support of forward-looking application only (Gerardo Vazquez, et al. v. Jan-Pro Franchising International, Inc., No. S258191, Calif. Sup.).
CHICAGO — McDonald's has "a decades-long history of racial discrimination" against its own Black franchisees, former franchisees allege in an Aug. 31 complaint in an Illinois federal court (Christine Crawford, et al. v. McDonald's USA, LLC, et al., No. 20-05132, N.D. Ill.).
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — A Tennessee federal judge on Aug. 27 sent a breach of contract suit brought by franchisees of Edible Arrangements LLC (EA) to arbitration based upon a clause in the franchise agreements despite the "creativity" of the franchisees' arguments (Fruit Creations, LLC, et al. v. Edible Arrangements, LLC, et al., No. 20-479, M.D. Tenn., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 156779).
CHICAGO — McDonald's Corp. and former and current franchise owners on Aug. 27 sued their insurer in a federal court in Illinois for breach of contract and declaratory relief, seeking coverage for an underlying class action injunction alleging that they are taking inadequate steps to contain COVID-19 in the workplace (McDonald's Corporation, et al. v. Austin Mutual Insurance Company, No. 20-05057, N.D. Ill.).
ATLANTA — Although "sympathetic" to a Georgia woman's loss of her puppy, the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Aug. 25 affirmed the dismissal of her Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act claims against Petland Inc. and its franchisees for failure to establish that the puppy's death "was the result of a nationwide racketeering conspiracy" (Rosalba Cisneros v. Petland, Inc., et al., No. 18-12064, 11th Cir., 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 26983).
WACO, Texas — Thirty "Curves for Women" franchisees filed a breach of contract complaint on Aug. 21 in a Texas federal court alleging that franchisors of the fitness and weight loss system neglected their franchise agreement obligations in favor of a "sell as many as possible" approach to their business (Bonita Arruda, et al. v. Curves International, Inc., No. 20-759, W.D. Texas).
MIAMI — After denying a motion for leave to amend a complaint alleging that Burger King Corp. and its franchisees used a no-hire agreement to limit wages and employment opportunities, a Florida federal judge on Aug. 24 entered a final order of dismissal in the antitrust suit (Jarvis Arrington, et al. v. Burger King Worldwide, Inc., et al., No. 18-24128, S.D. Fla.).
LOS ANGELES — Breach of contract and fraudulent inducement claims brought by a frozen yogurt restaurant franchisee against a franchisor and its alleged successor were bifurcated for a jury trial by a California federal judge in a July 1 order addressing motions to dismiss (Cantran Group, Inc. v. Cups, LLC, et al., No. 18-2044, C.D. Calif., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 152557).
MIAMI — In an Aug. 21 docket entry styled as a "paperless order," a federal judge in Florida rejected plaintiffs' efforts to hold a trial on their allegations of breach of guaranty via videoconference in view of the COVID-19 pandemic, finding instead that an in-person trial by year's end on that claim and Lanham Act damages "is possible with social distancing protocols in place" (Tim Hortons USA Inc., et al. v. Tims Milner LLC, et al., No. 18-24152, S.D. Fla.).
CHICAGO — The named plaintiff in a putative class complaint accusing the owner and operator of more than 140 Popeyes Louisiana Chicken franchises in a dozen states of violating Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) accessibility guidelines and routinely having access barriers in place lacks standing to bring his complaint and, even if he has standing, can't show that a class is common or ascertainable, the franchisee writes in its reply in support of its motion to dismiss and strike the class action filed July 13 in an Illinois federal court (Christopher Block, et al. v. Dhanani Group of Companies, Inc., et al., No. 19-6461, N.D. Ill.).
FAIRFAX, Va. — A former sandwich shop franchisee accused of falling behind on rent and then shutting its doors in violation of its lease agreement and the man who signed the guaranty must pay nearly $1 million to the landlord for breach of contract, a Virginia judge ruled Aug. 17 (Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association of America v. Prendergast Group, Inc., et al., No. CL-2019-876, Va. Cir., Fairfax Co., 2020 Va. Cir. LEXIS 122).
EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. — A federal magistrate judge on Aug. 19 issued a split ruling on a remand motion by a former indoor trampoline park employee who alleges in a putative class complaint that her employer and the company that it uses for a fingerprint collection system violated two sections of the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA), finding that Article III of the U.S. Constitution standing was shown for claims under only one of the two sections (Madisyn Stauffer, et al. v. Innovative Heights Fairview Heights, LLC, et al., No. 20-46, S.D. Ill., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 149460).