Legal news that affect small businesses and franchises, or legal advice for franchise owners

MTY's Delayed Earnings Call Leaves Analysts Baffled with Few Answers on 'Whistleblower' Claims

After MTY Food Group, Inc. issued a press release on February 14, 2020, indefinitely postponing its February 18 Fourth Quarter 2019 earnings call, due to “certain allegations made by a purported whistleblower employee,” analysts were left confused, wondering what the delay was all about.

Perkins Seeking to Terminate One of Its Largest Franchisees

Just a year ago, in January 2018, Pennsylvania-based 5171 Campbells Land Co. LLC bought 27 Perkins restaurants in Pennsylvania, New York and Ohio from bankruptcy court for $7.8 million. The purchase made the franchisee one of Perkins' largest. 

Now, just 17 months later, the owner of those restaurants has been asked by the Perkins company and subsequently ordered — at least temporarily — by a federal judge to discontinue using the Perkins name, not to operate within a three-mile radius of any Perkins restaurant or even identify itself as a former Perkins franchise.

A Legal Look at Area of Protection for Hotel Owners

Hotel owners generally have protection from their own hotel brand establishing another hotel nearby, but what about a different brand under the parent company? Marriott, for example, the world’s largest hotel company, has 30 brands. Accor has 33, while Hyatt has 10.

Hotel lawyer Bob Braun explains how changes in the hotel industry have affected area of protection (AOP) clauses and what owners need to know, remember and act upon going forward.

Covenant of Good Faith and Franchising in 2019: Survival, Opportunism and Distortion

The seemingly-omnipresent, but erroneous, belief that franchisors are legally prohibited at all times and in every instance from acting unreasonably or in bad faith vis-à-vis their franchisees is held not just by franchisees, but also by some prominent franchise lawyers.

Former NLRB Officials Duke It Out over How Feds Should Define 'Joint Employment'

Two former labor department officials presented conflicting views last month on how the National Labor Relations Board should finalize the definition of "joint employment" pertaining to relationships between companies and their independent contractors and franchisees on workplace labor violations.

This heated dispute was regarded by prominent attendees as being one of the biggest pending issues to face the labor board.

Motel 6 Settles Class Action for $7.6M over Claims It Shared Latino Names with ICE Agents

Motel 6 has agreed to pay $7.6 million to settle a class-action lawsuit that alleged the national hotel chain supplied immigration agents with personal data of guests who had Latino-sounding names, with some cases resulting in arrests and deportations.

FBI Granted More Time in Indictment of Franchisee Who Plotted Wife's Demise

A startling criminal case brought by the FBI last June against a multi-unit franchisee has now received federal court approval to delay its case for another month. Agents charged the financially troubled restaurateur with conspiring to kill his estranged wife, framing her as a terrorist, and plotting to commit arson on one of his restaurants to collect insurance money.

The Planet Fitness Transgender Case Is Headed Back to Trial Court

After three-plus years of legal wrangling, resulting in four court decisions, an ejected Planet Fitness club member in Michigan scored a victory over the franchise chain’s unwritten membership policy that allows biological men who identify as women to use the women’s locker rooms, showers and restrooms.

NLRB Chairman Proposes Overhaul of Current Joint Employer Standard

Following the National Labor Relations Board administrative judge’s recent decision to reject McDonald’s proposed settlement to resolve all cases that called it a joint employer with its franchisees on labor law violations, the NLRB announced Thursday that it will overhaul the current joint-employer definition.