Legal judgment & dispute resolution

Cases, news, issues and legal opinions impacting franchise law

Franchisees Consider Settlement to End Legal Battles with Tim Horton

After a lengthy legal battle, 1,500 Canadian franchisees will now consider a proposed settlement offer on two class-action lawsuits they filed against the coffee/doughnut chain in 2017. The lead plaintiff and president of the Great White North Franchisee Association (GWNFA), Mark Walker, signed an agreement on March 6 with Restaurant Brands International (RBI), Tim Hortons parent company, which was filed in Ontario Superior Court.

NLRB to Restore Traditional Joint-Employer Standard

On Friday, the National Labor Relations Board returned to its long-standing independent-contractor standard, reaffirming the Board’s adherence to the traditional common-law test. By doing so, NLRB clarified the role entrepreneurial opportunity plays in its determination of independent-contractor status, which the D.C. Circuit Court has recognized.

Lady of America Founder Sentenced in Fatal DUI Crash

Roger Wittenberns, 62, founder of franchise fitness chain Lady of America, pled guilty to DUI manslaughter in the fatal 2016 car crash that killed J. Gerald Smith, 82, an Uber driver. Wittenberns crashed his Lamborghini Murciélago into the front driver's side of Smith's Buick Enclave SUV.

Pizza Franchisors in Hot Seat for Labor Law Abuses

Franchisees of large pizza delivery systems have been settling labor-violation lawsuits, some in the millions of dollars, with little help from their franchisors who mandate many employment policies. Now with enforcement coming from an unusual source, franchisors may have to share the liability and expense with their franchisees.

Judge Dismisses Craft Beer Franchisor Trade Secret Suit against Glassdoor

In a high-profile lawsuit, a judge dismissed the complaint filed by Craft Beer Stellar against Glassdoor, alleging the website operator allowed negative postings against one of its franchisees containing confidential information. The franchisor asserts that was a violation of federal Defend Trade Secrets Act.