SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — A federal judge in Puerto Rico on Nov. 20 adopted a magistrate judge’s Oct. 30 report and recommendation to grant in part a franchisor’s motion for partial summary judgment seeking declaratory judgment, holding that the franchisees’ failure to pay costs required by their franchise agreement warranted termination of the agreement and an order requiring them to pay rent payments, fee payments and other product payments (Total Petroleum Puerto Rico Corp. v. Rafael Fonseca-Marrero, et al., No. 16-2436, D. Puerto Rico, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 197986).
PORTLAND — After holding that a franchisor did not have sufficient contacts to Oregon to establish jurisdiction there, an Oregon federal judge on Dec. 3 granted an apparel printing franchisor’s motion to dismiss claims for copyright infringement against it for lack of jurisdiction (Lisa Fox v. Michael Berenis, et al., No. 3:17-cv-2066, D. Ore., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 203859).
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — A Florida federal judge on Dec. 4 certified a class of individuals who received unwanted text messages from a pizza chain franchisee, finding that a class will be superior to separate actions based on the small amount of damages and burdens of litigation (Brian Keim, et al. v. ADF MidAtlantic, LLC, et al., No. 12-80577, S.D. Fla., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 204548).
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A North Carolina federal judge on Nov. 27 granted in part and denied in part a plaintiff’s motion to conditionally certify a collective action in her lawsuit alleging that an in-home companion care franchise had an unlawful policy and practice of failing to pay regular and overtime wages, finding that statewide notice to all employees of the franchisor is not appropriate particularly where other franchisees are not named as defendants (Roseann Geiger, et al. v. H.H. Franchising Systems, Inc., et al., No. 17-00738, W.D. N.C., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 199970).
NEW HAVEN, Conn. — A Connecticut federal judge on Nov. 20 granted a sandwich shop franchisor’s petition to compel arbitration of a dispute with a franchisee, holding that the parties clearly agreed that questions of arbitrability would be decided by an arbitrator (Doctor’s Associates, Inc. v. Karlton F. Kirksey, No. 3:18-cv-963, D. Conn., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 197515).
LOS ANGELES — A California Second District Court of Appeal panel on Nov. 20 reversed a summary judgment ruling for a McDonald’s franchisee in an age bias suit brought by a former employee, finding triable issues of material fact (Jeanine Denise Morgan v. JCAL, Inc., et al., No. B276474, Calif. App., 2nd Dist., 2018 Cal. App. Unpub. LEXIS 7821).
DALLAS — Although a Texas federal judge on Nov. 19 declined to reconsider her earlier decision refusing to dismiss a lawsuit seeking to invalidate uniform franchise agreements (UFAs), the judge withheld ruling on a choice-of-law issue as it applies to franchise act counterclaims “until the record is more developed” (Gigi’s Cupcakes LLC v. 4 Box LLC, et al. v. Keycorp LLC, et al., No. 17-3009, N.D. Texas, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 197264).
SAN FRANCISCO — A California senior care provider franchisee, R. MacArthur Corp. (RMC), has agreed to pay $340,000 to five former employees to end a racial and sexual harassment lawsuit brought by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, according to a consent decree filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California on Nov. 19 (U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. R. MacArthur Corp., et al., No. 17-4188, N.D. Calif.).
NEWARK, N.J. — A New Jersey federal judge on Nov. 14 said that because an issue of fact exists as to whether the defendants breached the terms of a licensing agreement and the terms of a guaranty entered into with a hotel operator, summary judgment is not warranted in favor of either of the parties (Days Inn Worldwide Inc. v. B.K.Y.K-II Inc. et al., No. 16-452, D. N.J., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 194899).
ORLANDO, Fla. — A federal judge on Nov. 15 awarded summary judgment to a hotel safe sales and leasing company, finding that the company did not violate the Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991 as modified by the Junk Fax Prevention Act of 2005 (TCPA) by sending three faxes to two hotels because the defendant company was an approved supplier by the plaintiff companies’ franchisor (Gorss Motels Inc., et al. v. Safemark Systems LP, No. 16-cv-1638, M.D. Fla., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 194892).
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — A Florida federal magistrate judge on Nov. 8 issued a report and recommendation to deny a motion for attorney fees filed by a fitness franchisor and a franchisee who were defendants in a class complaint filed under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) (Bilal Saleh, et al. v. Crunch, LLC, et al., No. 17-62416, S.D. Fla., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 192251).
DETROIT — A Michigan federal senior judge on Nov. 9 dismissed a $12 million lawsuit brought against a coffee house franchisor, finding that the claims against it are subject to a business agreement’s arbitration clause (Roasting Plant of Michigan JV, LLC, et al. v. Roasting Plant, Inc., et al., No. 18-10295, E.D. Mich., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 192558).
DETROIT — Since a franchisee failed to challenge the validity of an arbitral agreement, a Michigan federal magistrate judge on Nov. 8 held that the court could not review the validity of an underlying franchise agreement in the first instance and that the issue must first be reviewed by an arbitrator (DetailXPerts Franchise Systems, LLC v. TKTM Enterprise, LLC, et al., No. 18-11823, E.D. Mich., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 191992).
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — A Florida federal judge on Nov. 2 ruled that a putative class complaint, which alleged that some franchised locations of McDonald’s overcharge customers who choose to have certain hamburgers without cheese, failed to state any viable claims and that any “additional amendments would be futile” (Cynthia E. Kissner, et al. v. McDonald’s Corporation, No. 18-61026, S.D. Fla., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 192585).
NEW YORK — The Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Oct. 30 affirmed a lower federal court’s dismissal of an ex-franchisee of a financial service company’s lawsuit against the company and a New York district attorney, finding that the breach of contract and prosecutorial misconduct claims are barred (Jennifer S. Wilkov v. Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc., et al., No. 17-1388, 2nd Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 31010).
ATLANTA — The trial court properly awarded attorney fees that were less than what was requested following the settlement of former delivery drivers’ Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) minimum wage claims because, in calculating reasonable attorney fees, the trial court was permitted to consider the drivers’ rejection of earlier settlement offers and to consider the final results achieved compared to the recovery originally sought and to the requested fee award, the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Nov. 2 (Douglas Walker, et al. v. Iron Sushi LLC, et al., No. 18-10617, 11th Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 31062).
PHOENIX — The parties in a 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, filed a joint motion on Nov. 2 for preliminary approval of a settlement that will provide class members with up to $7.6 million (Jane V., et al. v. Motel 6 Operating L.P., et al., No. 18-242, D. Ariz.).
WILKESBORO, N.C. — A North Carolina judge on Oct. 22 dismissed with prejudice a Georgia franchisee’s claims against another franchisee for conversion, tortious interference with contract and unfair and deceptive trade practices under North Carolina General Statutes Section 75-1.1 (Window World of North Atlanta, Inc., et al. v. Window World, Inc., et al., No.18 CVS 70, N.C. Super., 2018 NCBC LEXIS 111).
BOSTON — A Massachusetts federal judge on Oct. 22 ruled that because a gas station franchisee had not “abandoned any aspect of its franchise,” it could not prove constructive termination of a franchise agreement necessary for granting its motion for a preliminary injunction to enjoin the franchisor from increasing the rent or terminating a lease and franchise under the Petroleum Marketing Practices Act (PMPA) (Hopkinton Friendly Service, Inc. v. Global Companies LLC and Global Montello Group, No. 18-11977-NMG, D. Mass., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 180418).
MADISON, Wis. — In an Oct. 31 decision, a Wisconsin federal judge found that a franchisor is unable to demonstrate a “better than negligible” likelihood it will succeed on allegations a former franchisee infringed its trade dress in establishing a new restaurant at the same location (E&G Franchise Systems Inc. v. Aubrey Janik, et al., No. 18-416, W.D. Wis., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 186245).