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American Law: Dunkin's Horn Is Out

The departure of Dunkin' Brands controversial chief legal officer is still making the news. This time at Law.com. David Hechler reports that director and managing counsel Arthur Anastos will temporarily replace outgoing Stephen Horn, while adding that there may be a few franchisees this Halloween who might want to wear a Steven Horn mask  to frighten people away. He explains why the fear:

Horn's strategy of filing hundreds of lawsuits against Dunkin' Donuts' franchisees—lawsuits that received a lot of unflattering publicity in recent months—was quickly cited by lawyers who represent the targets of those suits. They were celebrating his departure as if it were ... well, Halloween.

The doughnut chain has reportedly filed more than 350 lawsuits against its franchisees. About 100 of them met last month at a Dunkin' Donuts Independent Franchise Owners meeting in Worcester, Massachusetts—not far from the company's headquarters in Canton.

Miami attorney Robert Zarco, of Zarco Einhoren Salkowski & Brito, warned the group that the company had turned its loss prevention department into a "profit center," according to an article in The Boston Globe. Zarco, who said he represents more than a dozen Dunkin' franchisees, told the paper that the company profits from terminating franchisees by collecting transfer fees and increased royalties from new franchisees.

Zarco says Horn's resignation was a direct result of the uproar over the tactics, and pushback by the victims. "I believe these draconian tactics have caught up with Steve Horn," Zarco told the blog Blue MauMau. "He has been a bully for years."

Also See: Author Paul Steinberg Allegedly Reveals Horn's Strategy in His Book

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