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The Franchise Memorandum

Posts from March 2020 - Issue 251.
Posted in Employment

In another case involving the classifications of franchisees, a federal court in California granted a franchisor’s summary judgment motion in part, holding that the franchisees were not entitled to unpaid overtime wages, but allowed claims to proceed based on alleged misclassification of franchisees as independent contractors. Haitayan, v. 7-Eleven, Inc., Case No. CV 17-7454 DSF (C.D. Cal. Feb. 19, 2020). The plaintiffs are 7-Eleven franchisees who claimed that 7-Eleven should have classified them as employees rather than independent contractors. The franchisees ...

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Posted in Employment

A federal court in California has granted a motion for reconsideration in light of recent Ninth Circuit precedent, reversing the district court’s prior decision and dismissing ostensible agency claims alleged against a franchisor. Cruz v. MM869, Inc., 2020 WL 509109 (E.D. Cal. Jan. 31, 2020). Cruz, an employee of the Merry Maids franchisee and representative of a class action group, alleged that the franchisor Merry Maids and its parent organization ServiceMaster were joint employers and were liable for the franchisee’s alleged violation of various wage and hour laws under ...

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A hotel guest has sued a Turkish franchisee and several Wyndham entities in Delaware federal court, alleging she was sexually assaulted during her stay at a franchised Wyndham hotel in Istanbul. Roe v. Wyndham Worldwide, Inc., 2020 WL 707371 (D. Del. Feb. 12, 2020). The Wyndham defendants moved to dismiss the negligence and vicarious liability claims against them, arguing both that that the doctrine of forum nonconveniens barred litigation in the United States and that the guest had failed to state a valid claim against them. The court denied both grounds for dismissal.

In evaluating ...

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Posted in Employment

A federal court in Pennsylvania granted summary judgment to a franchisor on a wage and hour putative collective action brought by an employee of its franchisee. DiFlavis v. Choice Hotels Int’l, Inc., 2020 WL 610778 (E.D. Pa. Feb. 6, 2020). Plaintiff Gina DiFlavis worked as a housekeeper for several weeks at a franchisee’s Clarion Hotel. The Clarion brand is franchised by Choice Hotels. DiFlavis alleged that she and other housekeepers at Clarion Hotels nationwide were denied compensation for overtime work performed. Choice moved for summary judgment on the basis that it was not ...

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Posted in Damages

A Wisconsin federal court has dismissed common law misrepresentation claims against a franchisor because the franchisee’s claims were barred by the economic loss doctrine. Falk v. Wheeler, 2020 WL 759180 (E.D. Wis. Feb. 13, 2020). This dispute arose from a franchise relationship between plaintiffs and Indoor War, LLC, a franchisor of laser tag facilities. After purchasing more than $500,000 worth of equipment from Indoor War  much of which failed to arrive  the plaintiffs brought suit to recover the amount they invested in the Indoor War franchise. The plaintiffs alleged ...

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A federal court in Illinois held that the Illinois Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act (ICFA) does not apply to a franchise relationship. Hashmi v. 7-Eleven, Inc., 2020 WL 586822 (N.D. Ill. Feb. 2, 2020). Hashmi became a 7-Eleven franchisee in 1997 and quickly increased his involvement in the system, eventually becoming Vice President of the Franchise Coalition. In response to changes 7-Eleven was making, Hashmi began to publicly criticize 7-Eleven. Not long after Hashmi began his public campaign against it, 7-Eleven refused to renew his lease for one of his ...

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Posted in Employment

On February 26, 2020, the National Labor Relations Board issued its final rule defining the standard for a “joint employer” under the National Labor Relations Act. Under the final rule, a business must exert “such substantial direct and immediate control over one or more essential terms or conditions of their employment as would warrant finding that the entity meaningfully affects matters relating to the employment relationship with those employees.” The rule further provides that the “essential terms and conditions” of employment consist solely of the following ...

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Posted in Employment

Elsewhere, a federal court in North Carolina granted in part and denied in part a motion for partial judgment on the pleadings in a case in which the franchisee’s principals asserted that they were employees of the franchisor. Elsayed v. Family Fare LLC, 2020 WL 780701 (M.D.N.C. Feb. 18, 2020). Family Fare entered into a franchise agreement for a gas station convenience store with Almy, LLC, a company owned by plaintiff Elsayed. Family Fare subsequently terminated the agreement based upon allegations that Almy had skimmed proceeds from lottery ticket sales. Elsayed then sued ...

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About this Publication

The Franchise Memorandum is a collection of postings on summaries of recent legal developments of interest to franchisors brought to you by Lathrop GPM LLP. 

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