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The Franchise Memorandum

Posts from February 2021 - Issue 262.

A federal court in California granted in part a franchisor’s motion to dismiss a franchisee’s California Unfair Competition Law (UCL) and business interference claims, while denying the motion as to other aspects of the unfair competition claims and the covenant of good faith and fair dealing claim. Ronald Cohn, Inc. v. Sprouts Farmers Market, Inc., 2021 WL 120896 (S.D. Cal. Jan. 13, 2021). Ronald Cohn entered into a Trademark License Agreement (TLA) with Boney’s Services, Inc. in 1990 and then a second TLA in 1995. Boney’s was subsequently purchased by Sprouts Farmers ...

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In another vicarious liability case, a Delaware Superior Court denied franchisor Hand and Stone’s motion to dismiss, allowing vicarious liability claims based on the alleged sexual misconduct of its franchisee’s former employee to go forward. Jane Doe v. Massage Envy Franchising, LLC, 2021 WL 62643 (Del. Super. Ct. Jan. 7, 2021). The plaintiff alleged she was sexually assaulted while receiving a massage by Massage Envy employee, Christopher Dorman. She further alleged that Dorman was previously employed by a franchisee of Hand and Stone, that Dorman had engaged in ...

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A federal court in New Jersey has denied a franchisee’s motion for an emergency temporary restraining order. Sat Agiyar, LLC v. 7-Eleven, Inc., 2021 WL 147110 (Jan. 15, 2021). In September 2015, Agiyar signed a franchise agreement to operate a 7-Eleven store 24-hours per day in Princeton, New Jersey. At that time, Princeton prohibited the operation of retail food establishments from 2 a.m. to 5 a.m. The prohibition was set to expire in 2017 unless the city council extended it. To account for the local ordinance, Agiyar and 7-Eleven agreed to permit Agiyar to operate the location for ...

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Posted in Choice of Law

A federal court in New Jersey has dismissed certain state-law claims against the franchisors of Circle K gas stations based upon choice-of-law provisions in the parties’ franchise agreements, but ruled that related lease agreements had narrower choice-of-law language that did not apply to tort claims. Universal Prop. Servs. Inc. v. Lehigh Gas Wholesale Servs., Inc., 2021 WL 118940 (D.N.J. Jan. 13, 2021). Plaintiffs acquired the rights to operate 17 Florida-located gas stations from Defendants Circle K Stores, Inc. and TMC Franchise Corp. Plaintiffs alleged that during ...

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A federal court in New Jersey granted the motion for summary judgment filed by Doubletree hotel franchisor, Hilton Franchise Holdings, LLC, and its affiliate (collectively “Hilton”), finding that Hilton was not liable for the tragic accidental drowning of a child in a franchised Doubletree hotel’s pool. Burnet v. Hilton, 2021 WL 118924 (D.N.J. Jan. 13, 2021). The victim’s family claimed that Hilton, the third-party hotel management company, and the Hilton franchisee were all negligent in causing the child’s death. At summary judgment, the family argued that Hilton ...

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Laws that just became effective in Belgium and Netherlands may have a major impact on how franchisors conduct business there.

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In his first few days in office, President Biden has set out to reverse a number of Trump-era labor policies. One such reversal involves the DOL final rule on independent contractor classification (the “Final Rule”), which was published on January 7, 2021, and would have set new standards for determining when a worker is an employee or an independent contractor under the Fair Labor Standards Act. Notably, the Final Rule implemented a more employer-friendly “economic realities” test, which focused on (1) the nature and degree of the worker’s control over the work, and (2 ...

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Posted in Choice of Law

A federal court in Texas granted in part and denied in part a franchisor’s motion to dismiss a franchisee’s counterclaims under California state law. Jack in the Box Inc. v. San-Tex Rests., Inc., 2021 WL 148058 (W.D. Tex. Jan. 14, 2021). Jack in the Box entered into franchise agreements for 49 Texas restaurant locations with Atour Eyvazian and Anil Yadav, who, on the same day, assigned the franchise agreements to San-Tex Restaurants. The franchise agreements contained a choice of law provision contemplating the application of California law to claims “regarding the making ...

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Posted in Employment

The California Supreme Court has held that its Dynamex decision applies retroactively, answering a question certified to it by the Ninth Circuit in Vazquez v. Jan-Pro Franchising Int’l, Inc., --- P.3d ---, 2021 WL 127201 (Cal. 2021).

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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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