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NH Sisters Sued by Moe's Sandwich

Moe's Italian Sandwich parent company Madmoe Corp. is suing sisters Jolene and Betsy Ecker for closing the doors to their Moe's New Hampshire location just eight months after its opening. Moe's says the Eckers owe approximately $100,000 for breaching a 10-year franchise agreement to operate their shop through November 2010. The sisters explain that it was impossible to stay open in their town of Wells during winter, they "weren't making any money."

"We weren't paying ourselves at all," she [Betsy] said. "It was either we close the doors, or we go bankrupt.

It looks like Moe's had the keys to the shop the Eckers were leasing because when the sisters closed the it they changed the locks.

Moe's asked a judge to order the Eckers to hand over the keys for the Wells building and pay attorney's fees, court costs and "any other relief as just and equitable." The Eckers countered that it was their lease for the building, and it expired last December, so they weren't handing over the keys. A judge found in favor of the Eckers and denied Pagano's request for the emergency injunction.

In a possible clue as to what interested the sisters in investing in the franchise in the first place, Betsy said, "I like the sandwich. I've been eating them since I was 10."

After Wednesday's hearing, Jolene Ecker said the judge did not issue a ruling and has taken the matter under advisement. She and her sister were counseled by an attorney, but appeared without one because they can't afford to pay his legal fees, she said. (New Hampshire)

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