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Franchise Community Awaits Amicus Decisions on Appeal

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Blue MauMau) - The IFA is strongly supporting franchisors in lawsuits that could impact the "franchise industry". As previously reported on Blue MauMau, the International Franchise Association has recently filed two "friend of the court" briefs in the Court of Appeals, one in Georgia and the other in California. These briefs, known as amicus curiae, are filed by a third-party to protect its own interests, in support of one side or the other in a lawsuit. IFA, the world's largest and oldest trade association in franchising, has taken the franchisor side in both of these cases, which deal with issues that it feels could significantly impact the franchise industry. And by doing so, the association has stated that it is carrying out its own mission statement, "to protect, enhance and promote franchising," in representing its franchisor and franchisee membership.

But many in the community are questioning the real motives of IFA in its amicus briefs in supporting Atlanta Bread Company and Cold Stone Creamery, both riddled with litigation and problems. Here is the latest status report on these cases according to sources:

Oral Argument Rescheduled in Cold Stone Amicus

Original lawsuit: Lesa Meyers v. Cold Stone, filed by IFA in the Court of Appeals, State of California, on February 7, 2008.

Status: Last Friday, the U.S. Appeals Court rescheduled oral arguments on its own motion in the amicus curiae. It had originally been set for March 26, but has now been continued to April 22, 2008. Blue MauMau has now obtained a copy of the original First Amended Complaint in the case, filed in the Superior Court in the State of California, County of Los Angeles (see attached pdf. file below)

Cold Stone Case on Appeal; Court Struck IFA's Amicus Brief

Original lawsuit: Atlanta Bread Company v. Sean Lupton-Smith, filed by IFA in the Court of Appeals, State of Georgia, on December 3, 2007.

Status: The case is on appeal and has been fully briefed. The Court of Appeals could rule anytime between now and June. After the ruling, the losing side will have the right to petition the Georgia Supreme Court to hear its argument. It could take approximately four months for the Supreme Court to decide whether to take the case. If it decides not to take it, it is then over. Otherwise, it will be placed on the calendar and briefed, and then argued again. The parties could be looking at late '08 or early next year before the appeals have been exhausted.

Georgia Appeals Court Order and Motion to Stirke Amicus:

Appeals Court Order to Strike Motion-Atlanta Bread

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Related Article:

Amicus Briefs:

AttachmentSize
first amended complaint summons cover sheet (filed 9-29-06).pdf1.2 MB
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About Janet Sparks

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Janet Sparks is the former publisher of the Continental Franchise Review, an industry newsletter that covered the franchise community for over 30 years. She has also been a columnist for a leading franchise magazine for the past 13 years. Today she is an independent journalist who engages in investigative reporting, tackling complex issues that impact the franchise industry.

Janet can be reached at jsparks@bluemaumau.org or at 303-799-7398.