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LEXINGTON, Ky. – Blue MauMau and Courtroom View Network announce today that they will work jointly to report twice a day on the highly charged Morgate v Mail Boxes Etc. bench trial (no jury). It starts in Los Angeles on Monday morning, August 3, and is expected to last three days.
United Parcel Service bought the Mail Boxes Etc. franchising firm in 2001 for an estimated $191 million in a bid to capture a larger market share of home and small-office parcel shipments. The shipping firm wasn’t so interested in taking over to sell MBE franchises. Rather, it wanted the 3,400 Mail Boxes Etc. store owners to jump ship and move to the new brand and franchise system of The UPS Store.
Franchise owner-operators claim that Mail Boxes Etc. provided them with false information and coerced them to drop the Mail Boxes Etc. brand to join a largely untested business model that focused on parcel shipments under the well-known brand name of UPS.
UPS denies those claims and has fought the charges for years in court.
But franchisees were given a helping hand last month. On June 19 California Superior Court Judge William Highberger stunned the franchising firm by certifying a class action lawsuit that enables some 3,500 Mail Boxes Etc. franchisees to participate in the legal action. A class action suit helps individual franchise owner-operators, who are typically on a small budget, to each share the costs of expensive franchisee attorneys and court fees as opposed to having just a few franchisees pay hundreds of thousands of dollars.
A very short synopsis of the morning and afternoon court proceedings will be posted on Blue MauMau twice a day. Each report on Blue MauMau will have a link to CVN’s much more detailed report.
Against opposition by United Parcel Service, over 1,400 franchisees and professionals petitioned Judge Highberger in April to provide closed circuit video coverage of the trial. The court denied the petition, but for the August 3 trial, Courtroom View Network will have a legal reporter attend and cover the proceedings.
Courtroom View Network is known for providing live coverage and video of high-stakes civil litigation to largely legal and business professionals. A Courtroom View Network will be in attendance, reporting on trial proceedings once during lunch breaks and again after the day is through.
Readers will need to register and subscribe. The cost for subscribing to the detailed reporting on the CVN blog is $9 per day or $25 for the whole trial. It begins Monday morning.
Or use this web address: http://shopping.courtroomconnect.com/s.nl/it.A/id.1269/.f
This is the first time that a franchise news trade journal has arranged for hundreds and possibly thousands of franchisees and professionals to monitor a hearing. It is extremely unusual, not just for the franchise world, but also for any small business media.
Senior Researcher David Siegel of Courtroom View Network observes, “Using a ‘private’ reporter to cover a trial has long been a practice of major players like hedge fund firms that monitor big financial cases.” Siegel continues, “To have a group of middle-class franchisees band together and use the same tool is a story in and of itself.”
After the trial concludes, the proceedings and final ruling will be summarized on Blue MauMau.