PHOENIX — An amended settlement agreement and proposed order were filed July 31 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, adding 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.).
YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio — A settlement proposal under which an Ohio-based Panera Bread franchisee will pay up to $4,625,000 to end collective and class wage claims brought by assistant managers was granted preliminary approval by a federal judge in Ohio on July 26 (Erin Kis, et al. v. Covelli Enterprises, Inc., Nos. 18-54 and 18-434, N.D. Ohio, 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 125005).
ATLANTA — A trial court correctly ruled that opt-out notices required by the Telephone Consumer Protection Act as amended by the Junk Fax Prevention Act (TCPA) were not necessary on sales faxes for hotel safes sent to hotel franchisees as the faxes were solicited and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) eliminated its solicited-fax rule while the appeal was pending, an 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled July 26, affirming a trial court’s summary judgment ruling in a lawsuit that was filed as a class action (Gorss Motels, Inc., et al. v. Safemark Systems, LP, Nos. 18-12511 & 18-15232, 11th Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 22352).
ST. LOUIS — A Missouri federal judge on July 26 granted a motion to dismiss filed by a franchisor and its parent corporation after determining that the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan is the proper forum for the plaintiffs to pursue their claims arising out of the wrongful death of their 6-year-old son at a Hardee’s Restaurant in Amman, Jordan (Ahmad Hersh v. CKE Restaurants Holdings Inc., et al., No. 17-2043, E.D. Mo., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 125265).
RIVERSIDE, Calif. — A quadriplegic man who uses a wheelchair alleges in a July 21 federal complaint that a California pretzel franchise does not have accessible dining tables in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) (Brian Whitaker v. AP Franchise Group, LLC, et al., No. 5:19-cv-01334, C.D. Calif.).
CINCINNATI — Saying disputes of material issues of fact must go to a jury, a Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel in a June 25 unpublished opinion vacated and remanded a lower court’s summary judgment order that a former International House of Pancakes LLC employee was not entitled to indemnity for $130,000 in legal fees she spent defending herself in a criminal case (Autumn Lee Tangas v. International House of Pancakes LLC, et al., No. 18-3217, 6th Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 18859).
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — A federal judge in Florida on July 18 adopted a magistrate judge’s report and recommendation to grant a tax service franchisor’s motion for a preliminary injunction in its lawsuit alleging that a franchisee improperly used franchise marks to lure customers but processed tax returns through a different tax preparation business operating at the same location as the franchise (JTH Tax, Inc., et al. v. Jesus Abikarram, et al., No. 19-60328, S.D. Fla., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 121685).
SAN FRANCISCO — A Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on July 22 withdrew its May holding that a franchisor violated wage-and-hour laws by misclassifying franchisees as independent contractors, granted the franchisor’s request for a panel rehearing and said it would offer a revised disposition and issue an order certifying to the California Supreme Court the question of whether a 2018 high court ruling applies retroactively (Gerardo Vazquez, et al. v. Jan-Pro Franchising International, Inc., No. 17-16096, 9th Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 21687).
SAN FRANCISCO — In a June 26 response brief, a group of franchisees urges the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals to turn away a request for rehearing or rehearing en banc by a franchisor the panel in May 2019 found violated wage-and-hour laws by misclassifying the franchisees as independent contractors (Gerardo Vazquez, et al. v. Jan-Pro Franchising International, Inc., No. 17-16096, 9th Cir.).
NEW YORK — A federal judge in New York on July 11 granted in part a tax preparation franchisor’s motion for a temporary restraining order, finding that injunctive relief was needed only to prevent irreparable harm to the plaintiff companies’ goodwill and business relationships (JTH Tax Inc., et al. v. Pawanmet Sawhney, No. 19-cv-4035, S.D. N.Y., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 116330).
SAN JOSE, Calif. — A federal judge in California issued a permanent injunction against a former Baskin-Robbins franchisee on July 16 and ordered him to pay approximately $125,000 in damages and interest for breaching the franchise agreement, trademark infringement and unfair competition (Baskin-Robbins Franchising LLC, et al. v. Alan A. Chun, No. 18-cv-05476-BLF, N.D. Calif, 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 118457).
NEWARK, N.J. — A former hotel franchisee must pay Howard Johnson International Inc. approximately $583,000 after breaching its franchise agreement, a federal judge in New Jersey said in an opinion and accompanying order, both not for publication, filed July 17 (Howard Johnson International, Inc. v. Manomay, LLC, et al., No. 16-7621-SDW-LDW, D. N.J., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 118578).
BOSTON — A Massachusetts woman who sued a hotel franchisor and franchisee in a federal court in Massachusetts after her husband and son drowned in a pool at a Canadian hotel may proceed with her wrongful death suit after showing that the federal court has personal jurisdiction over the defendants, a federal judge ruled July 8, adding that the defendants may renew their motion to dismiss for forum non conveniens after limited discovery (Chimene Mbague Nandjou, et al. v. Marriott International, Inc., et al., No. 18-12230, D. Mass., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 112310).
WILMINGTON — Franchisor Dunkin’ Donuts Franchising LLC and the Dunkin’ Donuts trademark owner, DD IP Holder LLC, sued nine franchisees and two individuals in the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware on June 24 for allegedly failing to verify whether their workers were authorized to work in the United States (Dunkin’ Donuts Franchising LLC, et al. v. Hockessin Donuts LLC, et al., No. 19-1186, D. Del.).
LONDON, Ky. — Finding a forum-selection component in a franchise agreement’s alternative dispute resolution (ADR) provision to be not unconscionable and that the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA) directs enforcement, a Kentucky federal judge on July 10 found valid the requirement that the ADR process take place in the franchisor’s then-current principal place of business (CK Franchising Inc. v. SAS Services Inc., No. 18- 94, E.D. Ky., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 114396).
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — A Florida appeals court on June 28 partially reversed a $748,000 award to a real estate franchise company in a breach of franchise agreement suit, finding that the fraudulent misrepresentation and promissory estoppel claims are barred by Florida’s statute of frauds (Matthew Stamer and Brokerage Firm, LLC v. Free Fly Inc., D/B/A Exit Realty Florida, No. 5d17-3016, Fla. App., 5th Dist., 2019 Fla. App. LEXIS 10175).
ORLANDO, Fla. — A McDonald’s restaurant franchise in Florida violated the civil rights of a Hasidic Jewish man when it declined to hire him because he would not shave his beard because of his religious beliefs, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission alleges in a complaint filed July 16 in federal court (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Chalfont & Associates Group, Inc., No. 6:19-cv-01304-PGB-GJK, M.D. Fla.).
RALEIGH, N.C. — A trial court did not err in dismissing a former business partner’s claims arising out of the operation of a number of franchises because the former business partner failed to show a right to relief or offer any evidence in support of any of his claims, a North Carolina Court of Appeals panel said July 2 (Michael Musselwhite v. L. Brian Cheshire, No. COA18-1083, N.C. App., 2019 N.C. App. LEXIS 588).
RIVERSIDE, Calif. — A wage-and-hour lawsuit against a gas station franchisor belongs back in state court because the employer was unable to substantiate its amount-in-controversy estimate of more than $18 million, a federal judge in California ruled July 11 (Tiffany Rodriguez v. Circle K Stores Inc., No. 19-469, C.D. Calif., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 115701).
CHICAGO — In a case over whether a franchisee breached noncompete clauses and misused a franchisor’s trademarks, the Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on June 28 upheld a preliminary injunction but ruled that a lower court must revisit the form of the preliminary injunction and the amount of security it required (Auto Driveway Franchise Systems LLC v. Auto Driveway Richmond LLC, et al., No. 18-3402, 7th Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 19505).