The Franchise Memorandum
- Posts by Michael L. SturmPartner
Michael has nearly three decades of experience litigating on behalf of franchisors in federal and state courts across the country and in arbitration proceedings. His experience includes virtually every type of substantive claim ...
Refusing to rubber-stamp a proposed $5 million anti-poaching class action settlement, a federal court in Kentucky has directed the plaintiff to provide additional information to allow proper consideration of the factors specified in Fed. R. Civ. P. 23. In re Papa John’s Employee and Franchisee Employment Antitrust Litig., 2023 WL 5227294 (D. Ky. Sep. 15, 2023).
In an important case of first impression that drew amicus participation from the Department of Justice, the Federal Trade Commission, and the International Franchise Association, the Seventh Circuit reversed a judgment in favor of McDonald’s and revived a potential employee class action which alleges that the anti-poaching provision formerly found in McDonald’s franchise agreements violates the Sherman Act.
The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a Texas federal court’s (i) dismissal of a distributor’s fraud claims against an automobile-product manufacturer and (ii) grant of summary judgment in favor of the manufacturer on the distributor’s breach of contract claim. Wesdem, LLC v. Illinois Tool Works, Inc., 70 F.4th 285 (5th Cir. 2023).
A federal court in Maryland granted a foreign hotel franchisee’s motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction but denied a forum non conveniens motion in a personal injury case naming both franchisor and franchisee as defendants. Sant v. Marriott Int’l, 2023 WL 2213926 (D. Md. Feb. 24, 2023).
A federal court in Nevada recently transferred a franchisor’s trademark infringement lawsuit to Illinois, the location of the franchise, declining to rule on the franchisor’s motion for preliminary injunction. Hofbräuhaus of Am., LLC v. Oak Tree Mgmt. Servs., 2023 WL 24179 (D. Nev. Jan. 3, 2023).
The Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a decision dismissing an anti-poaching class action against Burger King, holding that the franchisor and its franchisees are independent actors capable of concerted action in violation of Section 1 of the Sherman Act. Arrington v. Burger King Worldwide, Inc., --- F.4th ----, 2022 WL 3931471 (11th Cir. Aug. 31, 2022).
A federal bankruptcy court in Texas held that a former franchisor can seek continued enforcement of its nondisclosure and nondisparagement agreements with a debtor and former franchisee, even following the franchisee’s bankruptcy. In re Lager, 2022 WL 3330421 (Bankr. N.D. Tex. Aug. 11, 2022).
Subject to court approval, franchisors Jiffy Lube and Papa John’s have agreed to settle separate putative civil class actions alleging that anti-poaching provisions previously included in their franchise agreements violated antitrust law. In re: Papa John’s Employee and Franchisee Employee Antitrust Litig., No 3:18-cv-00825-BB-RSE (W.D. Ken. July 27, 2022); Fuentes v. Jiffy Lube Int’l, Inc., No. 2:18-cv-05174-AB (E.D. Pa. July 22, 2022).
After denying a motion to dismiss, a federal court in New Jersey has now refused to grant summary judgment to a franchisor on racial discrimination and other employment-related claims asserted by its franchisee’s employee. Ward v. Cottman Transmission Sys., LLC, 2022 WL 909637 (D.N.J. Mar. 29, 2022).
A federal court in New Jersey refused to dismiss a counterclaim filed in violation of a contractual forum selection provision because, even though the provision was mandatory and enforceable, the plaintiff’s filing of the initial complaint waived the right to enforce it. The Indian Express Private Ltd. v. Hali, 2022 WL 154354 (D.N.J. Jan. 18, 2022).
In a dispute between Audi and two dealers, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the district court’s conclusion that one dealer’s obligation in a consent decree to “forever quit” its interest in purchasing an Audi dealership survived termination of the litigation and the dissolution of a preliminary injunction and was enforceable. Audi of Am., Inc. v. Bronsberg & Hughes Pontiac, Inc., No. 20-2940, 2021 WL 5320848 (3d Cir. Nov. 16, 2021) (designated as non-precedential).
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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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