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The Franchise Memorandum

Posts from June 2020 - Issue 254.

A federal court in Connecticut has ruled that a franchisor’s successor-in-interest cannot invoke a choice of venue provision in an agreement that refers to its predecessor’s principal place of business. Purugganan v. AFC Franchising, LLC, 2020 WL 2494718 (D. Conn. May 13, 2020). Purugganan entered into the Master Development Agreement with AFC’s predecessor-in-interest, Doctors Express Franchising LLC, to obtain exclusive rights to develop franchises in two New York counties and one county in Connecticut. Purugganan alleged AFC was not honoring the Master ...

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Posted in Damages

In another recent damages case, a federal court in Minnesota has granted in part a franchisee’s motion to add a claim for punitive damages, holding that the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure supersede state rules with respect to a franchisee amending its complaint to assert a claim for punitive damages. JTKB, LLC v. FranChoice, Inc., 2020 WL 2192337 (D. Minn. May 6, 2020). JTKB became a franchisee of ILKB kickboxing studios after engaging the services of franchise broker FranChoice. JTKB filed suit against FranChoice, alleging claims of fraud and misrepresentations regarding the ...

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Lathrop GPM continues to provide clients with alerts, articles, and other resources to help clients navigate important legal information regarding the COVID-19 pandemic. Some of the following may be of particular interest to franchisors and distribution-based businesses:

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As part of its periodic adjustment for inflation, the Federal Trade Commission has announced in a press release the new monetary thresholds for certain exemptions from disclosure under the FTC’s Franchise Rule. Although the Franchise Rule generally requires a franchisor to disclose key information to a prospective buyer before selling a franchise, 16 C.F.R. § 436.8 contains various exemptions, including three based on monetary thresholds for the sale. As of July 1, 2020, disclosure to a prospective buyer is not required under the Franchise Rule if:

  • The buyer pays less than $615 ...
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Posted in Damages

A federal court in Michigan recently entered a default judgement against a former Little Caesars franchisee and its principals, which included contractual liquidated damages in the amount of $474,144.14, as well as all attorneys’ fees and costs requested. Little Caesar Enterprises, Inc., v. Reyes 1, Inc., 2020 WL 2395206 (E.D. Mich. May 11, 2020). After Reyes repeatedly failed to operate its restaurants in accordance with Little Caesar’s standards, Little Caesar terminated its franchise agreements and filed a lawsuit, which quickly resulted in a settlement agreement ...

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A federal court in New York has dismissed a claim that Doctor’s Associates LLC, the franchisor of Subway restaurants, violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) because the plaintiff failed to allege that Doctor’s Associates operated the Subway restaurant at which the discrimination took place. Sullivan v. Doctor’s Assocs. LLC, 2020 WL 2319295 (S.D.N.Y. May 8, 2020). Sullivan, a “profoundly deaf individual,” attempted to order a steak sandwich from a Subway restaurant. He alleged that, while trying to order, a Subway employee became angry with him, using ...

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Posted in Contracts

A federal court in Ohio granted in part, and denied in part, a motion for summary judgment filed by hotel franchisor Red Roof Franchising, LLC on certain breach of contract and other claims that Red Roof filed against a former franchisee. Red Roof Franchising, LLC v. Riverside Macon Group, LLC, 2020 WL 2494462 (S.D. Ohio May 14, 2020). Red Roof terminated its franchise agreement with Riverside because the franchisee had failed to pay certain fees when due and failed to make required improvements to the premises of the franchised hotel. Riverside continued to operate the franchised ...

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Posted in Arbitration

A federal court in Ohio held that an arbitration provision in a franchise agreement was enforceable despite arguments that the agreement was rescinded or that it was contrary to Ohio law. Scarso Enters., Inc. v. Honor Yoga Mgmt., LLC, 2020 WL 2496941 (N.D. Ohio May 14, 2020). Plaintiff Scarso is a former franchisee that operated a yoga studio under the trade name of franchisor Honor Yoga. Scarso entered a development agreement with Honor Yoga to develop three studios and a franchise agreement for the first studio. When that studio underperformed, Scarso sought to renegotiate the ...

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Posted in Arbitration

The Third Circuit Court of Appeals has held that Coverall franchisees must submit their employee misclassification claims against a subfranchisor to arbitration, but remanded the question of whether the franchisor can invoke the same arbitration provision even though it is not a party to the plaintiffs’ franchise agreements. Richardson v. Coverall N. Am., Inc., 2020 WL 2028523 (3rd Cir. Apr. 28, 2020). Plaintiffs Richardson and Silva signed subfranchise agreements with Sojul, LLC in 2016 and 2005, respectively, to operate Coverall commercial cleaning franchised ...

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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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