NEW YORK — Allegations by a franchisee that its franchisor violated New York franchise laws were partly dismissed Sept. 20 by a New York federal judge on grounds that the parties’ original agreement is outside the applicable statute of limitations (Safe Step Walk In Tub Co. v. CKH Industries Inc., No. 15-7543, S.D. N.Y., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 161082).
SAN FRANCISCO — A franchisee told the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals at oral arguments on Sept. 10 that its franchisor’s refusal to allow the franchisee to relocate violates California state law and constitutes breach of contract (Mathew Enterprise Inc. v. FCA US LLC, Nos. 17-15060, -17392, 9th Cir.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — A U.S Court of Federal Claims judge on Sept. 17 denied a motion for summary judgment filed by the U.S. government after determining that issues of fact exist regarding whether the U.S. government’s action in connection with the General Motors Corp.’s bailout amounted to a taking of the franchise agreements of former GM auto dealer franchisees without just compensation (Colonial Chevrolet Co. Inc., et al. v. United States, Nos. 10-647C, 11-100C, 12-900C, Fed. Clms., 2018 U.S. Claims LEXIS 1190).
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — An Alabama bankruptcy judge issued a report and recommendation on Sept. 17 in an adversary proceeding between two former Ford franchise managers recommending partial summary judgment for the manager with majority interest, allowing the manager with minor interest to proceed with claims of conversion (In re: Frank A. Moultrie, No. 16-574, Frank A. Moultrie v. Ford Motor Company, et al., No. 16-78, N.D. Ala. Bkcy., 2018 Bankr. LEXIS 2820).
ASHLAND, Ky. — A Kentucky federal judge on Sept. 14 granted two motions for partial dismissal in a class lawsuit over customers being allegedly exposed to hepatitis A at two Waffle House locations, rejecting certain claims by those customers who weren’t infected and those who never showed that they actually purchased food or drinks and rejecting certain claims against the defendants who serve only as franchisor and lessor (Paul Diamond, et al. v. Waffle House, Inc., et al., No. 18-49, E.D. Ky., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 157087).
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — A Porsche dealership filed suit in a Florida court on Sept. 6, alleging that its former employee concocted a scheme through which he defrauded customers out of $2.5 million in deposits for vehicles that never existed (Copans Motor Inc. v. Shiraaz Sookralli, et al., No. 18-021221, Fla. Cir., 17th Jud. Cir., Broward Co.).
LOS ANGELES — The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed a complaint on Sept. 17 in a California federal court accusing a taco fast food chain with hundreds of corporate owned and franchise locations of failing to protect young female workers from sexual harassment and retaliation by at least three male shift leaders and managers (U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Del Taco, LLC, et al., No. 18-1978, C.D. Calif.).
NEW ORLEANS— A Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Sept. 13 upheld a federal judge in Texas’ ruling ordering a regional franchisee owner to pay fees pursuant to a personal guarantee that was signed in relation to an agreement to lease franchise units in the United Kingdom (Jani-King Franchising Inc. v. Jani-King [GB] Ltd., et al., No. 3:13-cv-0413, 5th Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS).
ATLANTA — A franchisor on Sept. 12 opposed an appeal filed by franchisees in the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, arguing that the court should affirm a judge’s decision refusing to certify two classes of franchisees of the Wyndham Hotel Group who received faxes from a safe company (Gorss Motels Inc., et al. v. Safemark Systems LP, No. 18-12511, 11th Cir.).
SPOKANE, Wash. — After holding that a liquidated damages provision in franchise license agreements for hotels was enforceable, a Washington federal judge on Sept. 6 granted summary judgment for a hotel franchisor on all of its claims in relation to breaches of the agreements by franchisees (Red Lion Hotels Franchising Inc. v. First Capital Real Estate Investments, LLC, et al., No. 2:17-CV-145, E.D. Wash., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 152430).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The National Labor Relations Board on Sept. 13 announced proposed changes to the joint-employer standard, to be published in the Federal Register on Sept. 14, that will narrow the definition.
LAYTON, Utah — A Utah federal judge on Sept. 10 ruled that a franchisor met “its heavy burden” and showed that it was entitled to a preliminary injunction against a franchisee who opened a competing business within the office of one of his franchises (Property Management Business Solutions v. Randall Averitte, No. 18-552, D. Utah, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 154644).
CHICAGO — A trial court erred by not employing the correct test when deciding that the company responsible for hiring, supervising and firing workers of a hotel franchise was not a joint employer of the workers, the Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Sept. 11, vacating and remanding for further consideration (Bogustawa Frey v. Hotel Coleman, et al., No. 17-2267, 7th Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 25717).
CHICAGO — One day after a judge granted a franchisor’s motion for a preliminary injunction in a breach of contract dispute over a franchise agreement, the franchisee on Sept. 5 moved to stay the order until the franchisor has provided the security that the franchisee argues is required under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 65(c) (Brightstar Franchising LLC v. Northern Nevada Care, Inc., et al., No. 17-9213, N.D. Ill., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 150769).
SEATTLE — A Washington federal judge on Sept. 7 denied a franchisor’s request for reconsideration or certification for interlocutory appeal to the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in a case concerning a more than 100 percent markup on services provided to franchisees and instead certified two questions to the Washington Supreme Court on the state’s restrictions on selling services to franchisees (Money Mailer, LLC v. Wade G. Brewer, No. 15-1215, W.D. Wash., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 153090).
SAN DIEGO — A California federal judge on Sept. 6 tentatively denied an ice cream franchisor’s motion to dismiss two claims alleging that it violated California Corporations Code but refused to reach a tentative decision as to its motion to dismiss claims the unfair business practices claims and its motion to transfer the breach of contract and declaratory relief claims to a federal court in Ohio (Kenneth Schulenburg, et al. v. Handel's Enterprises, Inc., et al., No. 18-513, S.D. Calif., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 153129).
CHARLOTTE, N.C.— A federal judge in North Carolina on Sept. 6 found that three former franchisees violated the terms of a 2016 preliminary injunction that barred them from continuing to operate vehicle pinstriping services, finding that evidence presented during a bench trial showed that they continued to solicit customers after the franchise agreements were terminated (Atlantic Pinstriping LLC, et al. v. Atlantic Pinstriping Triad LLC, et al., No. 16-CV-547, W.D. N.C., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 151952).
NEWARK, N.J. — A New Jersey federal judge on Aug. 22 granted Howard Johnson International Inc.’s motion for a default judgment against two franchisees in its lawsuit alleging that they breached a franchise agreement for the operation of a 65-room Georgia hotel, ordering the franchisees to pay $117,614.21 for recurring fees and liquidated damages that are owed under the agreement and prejudgment interest at 1.5 percent per month (Howard Johnson International, Inc. v. Jay Shree Ganesh LLC, et al., No. 17-4658, D. N.J., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 142924).
PHOENIX — An Arizona federal judge on Aug. 20 granted a joint motion seeking additional time to complete a settlement agreement in a class complaint accusing Motel 6 Operating L.P. and G6 Hospitality LLC, doing business as Motel 6, of voluntarily turning over guest registration information to agents of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) (Jane V., et al. v. Motel 6 Operating L.P., et al., No. 18-242, D. Ariz.).
CHEYENNE, Wyo. — A franchisor properly followed its unambiguous employment agreements with two of its executives when it fired them for cause after discovering their involvement in a business plan to open an unrelated franchise, the Wyoming Supreme Court ruled Aug. 22 (Dan B. James, et al. v. Taco John’s International, Inc., No. S-17-0339, Wyo. Sup., 2018 WY 96).