LOS ANGELES — Two months after the U.S. Supreme Court denied Domino’s Pizza LLC’s petition for certiorari in an Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) lawsuit over the alleged inaccessibility of its website for visually impaired patrons, a California federal judge on Dec. 12 ordered that default be entered against the pizza chain on remand for its failure to respond to the plaintiff’s amended complaint (Guillermo Robles v. Domino’s Pizza LLC, No. 2:16-cv-06599, C.D. Calif.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Over objections by the charging parties, a split National Labor Relations Board panel on Dec. 12 ruled 2-1 to vacate an administrative law judge’s (ALJ) order that denied approval of multiple settlement agreements involving McDonald’s USA LLC, McDonald’s Restaurants of Illinois Inc. and a large number of franchisees accused of retaliating against workers involved in an organizing campaign for higher pay based on a lack of finding that McDonald’s USA was a joint employer and remanded the case to the ALJ with instructions to approve the agreements (McDonald’s USA, LLC, et al. v. Fast Food Workers Committee and Service Employees International Union, CTW, CLC, et al., Nos. 02-CA-093893 et al., NLRB).
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — A franchisor of Golden Corral restaurants and a former server at one of its chains on Dec. 9 settled their dispute in Arkansas federal court over allegations that the server’s firing was based upon discrimination for having human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) (Jimmy Davis v. Golden Partners, Inc., No. 18-5188, W.D. Ark.).
SAN FRANCISCO — The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Dec. 11 denied a petition for rehearing or rehearing en banc following an Oct. 1 decision in which a split panel held that McDonald’s Inc. and its subsidiaries aren’t a joint employer of franchised locations’ workers and can’t be held liable for overtime claims (Guadalupe Salazar, et al. v. McDonald’s Corp., et al., No. 17-15673, 9th Cir.; 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 36683).
SAN FRANCISCO — Volkswagen dealerships failed to provide proof of any damages following alleged emissions fraud that are recoverable for claims under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act and for state law civil conspiracy claims, a federal judge in California ruled Dec. 6, granting summary judgment to a German multinational engineering and technology company and its subsidiary (In re: Volkswagen “Clean Diesel” Marketing, Sales Practices, and Products Liability Litigation, MDL No. 2672 related to Napleton, No. 16-02086, N.D. Calif.).
SEATTLE — On the heels of a September summary judgment ruling in favor of a trademark infringement counterclaimant, a federal judge on Dec. 6 permanently enjoined further use of the “Bok Bok” unregistered mark by a plaintiff in the state of Washington (BBC Group NV LLC v. Island Life Restaurant Group LLC, No. 18-1011, W.D. Wash., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 210866).
NEWARK, N.J. — Third-party claims against Golden Corral Corp. and its subsidiary over misrepresentations related to a proposed franchise location and rescission or reformation of a franchise agreement are barred under a release in an assignment agreement between a limited liability company and the franchisor, a New Jersey federal judge ruled Dec. 4 (William Scism, et al. v. Golden Corral Corp., et al., No. 18-12879, D. N.J., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 208785).
JACKSON, Miss. — There is no evidence showing that a Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) franchisee exercised control over a gas station convenience store’s restroom located in the same building where a man slipped and injured himself, the Mississippi Court of Appeals held Dec. 3, affirming judgment to the franchisee (Wilbur M. Washington, Jr., et al. v. West Quality Food Services, Inc., No. 2017-CA-01532-COA, Miss. App., 2019 Miss. App. LEXIS 576).
PITTSBURGH — A Pennsylvania magistrate judge on Dec. 3 dismissed without prejudice claims brought by a franchisee of a 7-Eleven convenience store against the franchisor for breach of contract, accounting and defamation because the franchise failed to provide details regarding the alleged wrongful conduct (Aysan Guvenal, et al. v. 7-Eleven, Inc., No. 19-391, W.D. Pa., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 207699).
PHILADELPHIA — A federal judge in Pennsylvania on Nov. 25 denied a motion to dismiss filed by Jiffy Lube International Inc. in a putative class complaint by a former employee over the franchisor’s no-poach provision as it related to a Sherman Act claim but granted it to the extent that Jiffy Lube argued that the employee lacked standing to seek injunctive relief and as to the plaintiffs’ antitrust claims older than four years (Victor Fuentes v. Royal Dutch Shell PLC, et al., No. 18-5174, E.D. Pa.).
HONOLULU — Two expert witnesses for a Hawaiian car dealership can testify about the value of the business to determine damages in the franchisee’s improper business practices suit against the franchisor, Volvo Car USA LLC, though they cannot mention estimated 2017 financial results because the business never provided the actual results, a federal judge ruled Nov. 26 (Envy Hawaii LLC v. Volvo Car USA LLC, No. 1:17-cv-40, D. Hawaii, 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 206319).
CHICAGO — McDonald’s USA LLC is liable in a disability violations class action as both the “operator” and “lessor” of a California restaurant because its agreement with the franchisee allows it to “control modification of the franchise to improve its accessibility to the disabled,” a plaintiff argues in a Nov. 26 brief to an Illinois federal court in opposition to the franchisor’s summary judgment motion (Karen Morey v. McDonald’s Corp., et al., No. 18-1137, N.D. Ill.).
MOBILE, Ala. — An Alabama bankruptcy judge on Nov. 21 limited relief sought by a franchisor of landscape service against debtors in state or federal courts in the Southern District of Alabama but overruled an objection to the franchisor’s $27,770.06 unsecured claim (In re: Stephen L. Mainous and RaeAnne E. Mainous, No. 19-11630, S.D. Ala. Bkcy., 2019 Bankr. LEXIS 3612).
DALLAS — A McDonald’s franchisee in Texas accused of employing a general manager and another employee who sexually harassed female workers will pay $340,000 to the named employees and a class of female workers, provide anti-discrimination and harassment training and never employ the two alleged harassers again, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission announced Nov. 25 (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Credle Enterprises, LLC, No. 18-239, N.D. Texas).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Supreme Court on Nov. 12 denied a fast-food-restaurant franchisee’s petition for a writ of certiorari, which asked the court to determine 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.).
TEXARKANA, Texas — A Nissan franchisee’s sale performance did not constitute a breach of a dealer sales and service agreement, a Texas appeals panel held Nov. 22, also finding that the franchisee did not breach the agreement by “willfully falsifying its tax returns and by knowingly submitting false financial statements” (Nissan North America, Inc. v. Texas Department of Motor Vehicles, et al., No. 06-19-00007-CV, Texas App., 6th Dist., 2019 Tex. App. LEXIS 10138).
SAN FRANCISCO — The California Supreme Court on Nov. 20 agreed to decide whether Dynamex Operations West Inc. v. Superior Court applies retroactively after the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals certified the question to the high court in a case concerning cleaning service franchisees’ status as employees (Gerardo Vazquez, et al. v. Jan-Pro Franchising International, Inc., No. S258191, Calif. Sup.).
CHICAGO — Seventeen employees of McDonald’s restaurants in the Chicago area sued corporate- and franchise-owned stores on Nov. 21 in an Illinois state court for failure to protect them from customers’ violent behavior, which has resulted in physical and psychological injuries (Sonia Acuña, et al. v. McDonald’s Corp., et al., No. 2019-CH-13477, Ill. Cir, Cook Co.).
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — A franchisor of Golden Corral restaurants accused of discrimination was denied summary judgment on Nov. 12 by an Arkansas federal judge, who found evidence that the firing of a server with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) could have been pretextual (Jimmy Davis v. Golden Partners Inc., No. 18-5188, W.D. Ark., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 195763).
FORT WAYNE, Ind. — An effort by a former franchisee and recipient of an unsolicited junk fax to certify a nationwide class was again unsuccessful on Nov. 4, when a federal judge in Indiana denied reconsideration of her May finding that “questions of prior express invitation or permission” to receive the fax in question “are individual inquires that predominate over common issues” (Gorss Motels Inc. v. Brigadoon Fitness Inc., et al., No. 16-cv-330-HAB, N.D. Ind., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 190548).