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The Franchise Memorandum

Posts from July 2020 - Issue 255.

A recent change related to the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act may increase the number of small business bankruptcy filings in coming months. The Small Business Reorganization Act (SBRA) went into effect on February 19, 2020, aiming to streamline small business reorganizations by modifying or eliminating certain traditional Chapter 11 requirements and creating an easier path for small business debtors to confirm plans of reorganization. Under the SBRA, a small business debtor, whether an individual or legal entity, is the only party permitted to file ...

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Posted in Trademarks

A federal court in Florida granted a franchisor preliminary injunctive relief for trademark infringement claims, but denied the franchisor’s request to enforce a noncompete against defendants who had not signed a franchise agreement. Interim Healthcare, Inc. v. Interim Healthcare of Se. La., Inc., 2020 WL 3078531 (S.D. Fla. June 10, 2020). Interim is the franchisor of a system that provides nursing, therapy and non-medical home care, hospice, and healthcare staffing. Defendants operated Interim franchises in and around New Orleans and Livingston Parish, Louisiana. The ...

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Posted in Employment

In another case analyzing the amount of control exerted by 7-Eleven over its franchisees, a federal court in Illinois dismissed a franchisee’s putative class action seeking relief under Illinois’ Wage Payment and Collection Act (IWPCA). Patel v. 7-Eleven, Inc., 2020 WL 3303003 (N.D. Ill. June 18, 2020). In his complaint, plaintiff Niral Patel contended that 7-Eleven’s franchise agreements, including the franchise agreement between 7-Eleven and Shanti 11, Inc. (a corporation wholly owned by Patel), constituted agreements to pay wages governed by the IWPCA. Under the ...

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Posted in Trademarks

A federal court in Michigan has denied a restaurant chain’s motion for preliminary injunction because it failed to demonstrate likelihood of success on its claim that a competing franchisor was infringing trademarks and trade dress. Eastpointe DWC, LLC v. Wing Snob Inc., 2020 WL 3412266 (E.D. Mich. June 22, 2020). Detroit Wing Company has been operating restaurants primarily selling chicken wings since 2015. Wing Snob Inc. subsequently opened its first restaurant and rapidly expanded, opening locations in near proximity to other Detroit Wing Company locations. Detroit Wing ...

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A federal Court in New Jersey granted summary judgment after finding that the franchisor did not owe a duty of care to the plaintiff, who was shot in an armed robbery at a 7-Eleven store operated by a franchisee. Boutahli v. 7-Eleven, Inc., 2020 WL 3287127 (D.N.J. June 18, 2020). On January 10, 2014, Boutahli was the only employee working at a 7-Eleven store in Pennsauken, New Jersey. Just after midnight, two men walked into the store, demanded the contents of the cash register, and pistol-whipped and shot Boutahli four times before fleeing the scene. While Boutahli survived the attack, he ...

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On June 5, 2020, the President signed the Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act of 2020 (Flexibility Act) (Pub. L. 116–142), which changes key provisions of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), including provisions relating to the maturity of PPP loans, the deferral of PPP loan payments, and the forgiveness of PPP loans. Section 3(d) of the Flexibility Act provides that the amendments relating to PPP loan forgiveness and extension of the deferral period for PPP loans shall be effective as if included in the CARES Act, which means that they are retroactive to March 27, 2020.

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A federal court in Pennsylvania recently transferred a franchise dispute to Delaware pursuant to the franchise agreement’s forum selection clause, even though some defendants were not party to the agreement. Sweet Charlie’s Franchising, LLC v. Sweet Moo’s Rolled Ice Cream, LLC, 2020 WL 3405769 (E.D. Pa. June 19, 2020). Franchisor Sweet Charlie’s brought an action against a franchisee, Peter Aguib, and other third-parties (collectively, “Aguib”), alleging misappropriation of confidential information that Aguib gained while attending a training program for ...

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The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals recently upheld the district court’s grant of Little Caesar’s motion for a preliminary injunction preventing a holdover franchisee from continuing to operate its restaurants. Little Caesar Enters., Inc. v. Miramar Quick Serv. Rest. Corp., Case. No. 19-1860 (6th Cir. June 25, 2020). Lathrop GPM represented Little Caesar in this case. As we previously reported in Issues 244 and 246 of The GPMemorandum, this case involves a franchisee of four Little Caesars franchises in Connecticut and Massachusetts that was terminated for its failure to ...

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Posted in Arbitration

In another recent decision from the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, the court affirmed a ruling that incorporation of the AAA Rules into an arbitration agreement provides the “clear and unmistakable” evidence required under Supreme Court precedent that the parties agreed to arbitrate the question of arbitrability. Blanton v. Domino's Pizza Franchising LLC, 2020 WL 3263002 (6th Cir. June 17, 2020). The AAA Rules provide, in part, that “[t]he arbitrator shall have the power to rule on his or her own jurisdiction, including any objections with respect to the existence, scope or ...

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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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