Mealey's Franchise

  • September 11, 2019

    10th Circuit Upholds Denial Of Barbecue Franchisor’s Motion To Compel Arbitration

    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).

  • September 10, 2019

    Judge: Window Franchisor’s Document Claw-Back Requests Were Untimely, Improper

    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).

  • September 05, 2019

    Federal Judge Dismisses Case Against Burger King Over Trip And Fall

    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).

  • September 04, 2019

    Former H&R Block Manager To 8th Circuit:  There Was No Arbitration Agreement

    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.).

  • September 03, 2019

    Judge Denies Stay Of Injunction Against Ex-Franchisee Of Little Caesars Pending Appeal

    ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Finding no new factual or legal arguments, a Michigan federal judge on Aug. 23 declined to stay enforcement of a preliminary injunction preventing a former franchisee from continuing to operate four restaurants branded as Little Caesars pending an appellate court’s adjudication of the franchisee’s appeal (Little Caesar Enterprises, Inc., et al. v. Miramar Quick Service Restaurant Corp., et al., No. 18-10767, E.D. Mich., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 143560).

  • August 30, 2019

    Domino’s Says Rampant Litigation Supports High Court Review Of Website ADA Suit

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — In an Aug. 28 reply brief supporting its petition for certiorari, Domino’s Pizza LLC tells the U.S. Supreme Court that a Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruling over the applicability of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) to websites and mobile apps is “Profoundly Important” and merits review in light of the high numbers of lawsuits filed in recent years regarding online accessibility, arguing that the circuit courts are split over the statute’s application in online contexts (Domino’s Pizza LLC v. Guillermo Robles, No. 18-1539, U.S. Sup.).

  • August 29, 2019

    Jani-King Franchisee Class Settlement Granted Final Approval By Federal Judge

    PHILADELPHIA — A federal judge in Pennsylvania on Aug. 26 granted final approval of a $3.7 million settlement to be paid by Jani-King of Philadelphia Inc., Jani-King Inc. and Jani-King International Inc. (collectively, Jani-King), ending more than a decade of litigation over the defendants’ franchise system that the plaintiffs claim caused them to be misclassified as independent contractors rather than employees (Pamela Myers, et al. v. Jani-King of Philadelphia, Inc., et al., No. 09-1738, E.D. Pa., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 144929).

  • August 28, 2019

    Panel: Claims Are Potentially Subject To Employment Practices Liability Coverage

    SANTA ANA, Calif. — A California appeals panel on Aug. 27 held that a lower court erred in finding that an employment practices liability insurance policy’s wage-and-hour exclusion bars coverage for an underlying lawsuit brought against the owner and operator of more than 250 Pizza Hut and Wing Street restaurants, finding that many of the underlying allegations are potentially subject to coverage (Southern California Pizza Co., LLC v. Certain Underwriters at Lloyd's, London, No. G056243, Calif. App., 4th Dist., Div. 3, 2019 Cal. App. Unpub. LEXIS 5712).

  • August 26, 2019

    Preliminary Approval Granted To Amended Settlement In Motel 6 Guest List Suit

    PHOENIX — A federal judge in Arizona on Aug. 2 granted preliminary approval to an amended settlement agreement in an Arizona class lawsuit over 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 added an injunctive relief class to the settlement that totals up to $10 million (Jane V., et al. v. Motel 6 Operating L.P., et al., No. 18-242, D. Ariz.).

  • August 26, 2019

    Settlement Reached In Tax Service Franchisor’s Trademark Lawsuit

    FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — A federal judge in Florida on July 25 administratively closed a trademark infringement lawsuit brought by a tax service franchisor based on a mediation report that indicated that the parties reached a settlement (JTH Tax, Inc., et al. v. Jesus Abikarram, et al., No. 19-60328, S.D. Fla.).

  • August 23, 2019

    High Court Seeks Response To Petition Seeking Review Of Maryland Taxation Ruling

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Supreme Court on Aug. 21 requested a response to a petition seeking clarification of whether a state may treat franchise fees, royalty fees and similar payments from in-state businesses to out-of-state businesses as income earned in that state by the out-of-state business (Staples, Inc., et al. v. Maryland Comptroller of the Treasury, No. 19-119, U.S. Sup.).

  • August 23, 2019

    Burger King Franchisees Will Pay $30,000 To End Intellectual Disability Bias Suit

    OKLAHOMA CITY — The operators of a Burger King in Oklahoma will pay $30,000 to end a complaint by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission that they violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) for withdrawing a job offer for an applicant with an intellectual disability after learning that he would be accompanied to work by a job coach, according to a consent decree signed by a federal judge in Oklahoma on Aug. 21 (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Northwest Petroleum, LP, et al., No. 18-703, W.D. Okla.).

  • August 23, 2019

    Panel: Court’s Summary Judgment Ruling On Trade Secrets Counterclaim Proper

    DALLAS — A Texas state appellate panel on Aug. 13 ruled that a state trial court did not err in granting summary judgment in favor of a plaintiff on defendants’ counterclaims for, among other things, trade secret misappropriation because the defendants failed to show that a genuine issue of material fact exists on the challenged elements of their trade secret misappropriation claim (Kenneth W. Morrison, et al. v. John D. Profanchik Sr., No. 05-17-01281-CV, Texas App., 5th Dist., 2019 Tex. App. LEXIS 7089).

  • August 23, 2019

    In Florida Franchise Dispute, Preliminary Injunction Denied

    MIAMI — A franchisor’s request for a preliminary injunction barring a franchisee from operating a new, competing business in the same location as its former franchise was rejected Aug. 13 by a federal magistrate judge in Florida, who found that the franchisor “fails to justify” the relief it seeks (3 Natives Franchising LLC v. 3 Natives Stuart LLC, et al., No. 19-14093, S.D. Fla., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 136631).

  • August 21, 2019

    Hotel Franchisees Seek Rehearing After 11th Circuit Found Faxes Were Solicited

    ATLANTA — Wyndham Hotel Group (WHG) franchisees filed a petition for rehearing en banc on Aug. 16, approximately three weeks after an 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled that sales faxes sent to the hotels were solicited (Gorss Motels, Inc., et al. v. Safemark Systems, LP, Nos. 18-12511 & 18-15232, 11th Cir.).

  • August 21, 2019

    Federal Judge: McDonald’s Has Right To 1st Option To Buy Back Franchises

    SAN DIEGO — Pursuant to its franchise agreements, McDonald’s USA LLC had the first option to purchase eight California franchises for the price set out in a purchase and sale agreement (PSA), even though the franchisor declined to purchase other assets included in the PSA, a federal judge in California ruled Aug. 16, finding the other assets “outside the scope of the franchise agreements” (Tavarua Restaurants, Inc., et al. v. McDonald’s USA, LLC, No. 19-21, S.D. Calif., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 139257).

  • August 19, 2019

    Blind Domino’s Patron Opposes Certiorari In Website ADA Accessibility Suit

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — A Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruling that held that the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) applies to websites and mobile apps was a matter of first impression that did not create a circuit split, a blind man tells the U.S. Supreme Court in an Aug. 14 brief opposing a petition for certiorari by Domino’s Pizza LLC regarding related mandated accommodations (Domino’s Pizza LLC v. Guillermo Robles, No. 18-1539, U.S. Sup.).

  • August 19, 2019

    Arbitration Of Vendor Negotiating Practices Granted In 7-Eleven Suit

    CAMDEN, N.J. — A franchisee who sued 7-Eleven for breaching his franchise agreement must arbitrate claims related to vendor negotiating practices, a federal judge in New Jersey ruled Aug. 14, staying those claims and dismissing the others (Bassel Khorchid v. 7-Eleven, Inc., No. 18-8525, D. N.J., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 137217).

  • August 16, 2019

    2nd Circuit Finds Valid Arbitration Agreement Between Applicant, Franchisor

    NEW YORK — A franchisee application that contained an arbitration agreement and the franchisor’s consideration of that application constituted “sufficient consideration to support the agreement to arbitrate,” a Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled Aug. 14, vacating a trial court’s opposite conclusion in the franchisee’s racial bias lawsuit (Doctor’s Associates, Inc. v. Girum Alemayehu, No. 18-1865, 2nd Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 24151).

  • August 15, 2019

    Judge Denies Reconsideration Of Ruling On Property Forfeiture Relief For Subway Franchisor

    SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — Refusing to reconsider a denial of relief from forfeiture after a Subway restaurant franchisee pleaded guilty to 13 counts of bank fraud, a federal judge in Puerto Rico on Aug. 7 held that a franchisor and sublessor’s motion relies on irrelevant facts and misconstrues the property subject to forfeiture (United States v. Felix Peña-Fernández v. Doctor’s Associates LLC, et al., No. 18-426, D. Puerto Rico, 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 134489).

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