Ruling States Restaurant Franchisor SUBWAY Violated Soldier’s Rights
DALLAS, Oct. 22, 2009 – Mullin Rybicki, PC, a premier commercial law practice with an emphasis on franchise law, won a substantial, partial summary judgment ruling on behalf of Lieutenant Colonel Leon Batie, Jr. after Judge Carlos R. Cortez of the 44th State Civil District Court ruled SUBWAY® Real Estate Corp. wrongfully terminated his franchise lease contracts.
“This is a great victory for soldiers who are serving their country but also want to make an honest living at home by becoming small business owners and purchasing franchises,” said Batie. “Subway ignored my rights and ruined my dream of building a future with a chain of Subway stores. This ruling not only validates my rights but also protects other soldiers from the fear of unlawful conduct by franchisors in the future.”
Batie opened his first SUBWAY store in South Dallas in 2002, experienced success and opened his second location in 2003. He left his stores in March 2005 after being called to serve in Afghanistan with the U.S. Army Reserve. Batie returned in 2006 to learn that the leases on his two SUBWAY locations had been terminated by SUBWAY Real Estate Corp. in violation of federal law.
“By ignoring the additional legal protections afforded to our servicemembers under federal law, SUBWAY violated Col. Batie’s legal rights and trampled on the rights of men and women who leave their personal lives behind to protect and serve our country,” said Grant Walsh, attorney for Mullin Law, PC. “This is a great win on behalf of soldiers who open franchises and expect to return home to find their businesses rightfully intact. This case sets a precedent to protect our soldiers and further proves that large corporations cannot ignore those rights.”
The court ruled on Batie’s partial summary judgment motion stating that SUBWAY Real Estate Corp. violated the United States Servicemembers Civil Relief Act by wrongfully terminating his lease contracts without a court order. The issue of damages was not before this court and will be assessed in a trial planned for early 2010.
“Of all of the issues presented in this case, the partial summary judgment ruling on this particular issue regarding illegal termination of Batie’s lease contracts has the most impact on the case overall,” continued Walsh. “This big win means Batie’s case will now proceed to a determination of damages.”
In addition, in a related issue on October 22, 2009, Judge Sally Montgomery of the Dallas County Court at Law #3 ordered the eviction judgment against Batie to be vacated.
About Mullin Rybicki, PC
Mullin Rybicki, PC is a Dallas-based, full service commercial law firm that is nationally recognized in the area of franchise and distribution law. The firm represents clients throughout the United States in areas ranging from franchising to employment law, copyright/trademark law, mergers and acquisitions, corporate litigation, as well as dispute resolution. For more information, please visit mrkpc.com