On June 27, 2017, Constantine J. Themelis and Kamil Ismail prevailed on behalf of Cluck-U Corporation, a restaurant franchise headquartered in Maryland on all claims related to a Franchise Agreement with a North Port, Florida franchisee.
In Cluck-U Chicken, Inc. v. Cluck-U Corporation, et. al., presided over by Magistrate Judge Mark A. Pizzo of the Middle District of Florida, Tampa Division, the Florida franchisee asserted various claims against Cluck-U Corporation for fraud, violations of Florida’s Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act and breach of the Franchise Agreement. Cluck-U Corporation asserted breach of contract claims against the Florida franchisee for inappropriately closing a Cluck-U store in 2015 and opening a competing restaurant in the same location.
Before trial, Cluck-U Corporation gained summary judgment in favor of both the franchise and its owner on the majority of the claims. During a four-day jury trial, at the close of all evidence, the Court granted Cluck-U Corporation’s Motion for Directed Verdict and entered judgment as a matter of law for all claims asserted by the Florida franchisee. As a result, the jury was instructed to disregard all of the Florida franchisee’s claims, and deliberated exclusively on Cluck-U Corporation’s claims for breach of contract against the Florida franchisee. After a short deliberation, the jury came back with a unanimous verdict in favor of Cluck-U Corporation finding that the Florida franchisee had breached the Franchise Agreement. Cluck-U Corporation was awarded liquidated damages and attorney’s fees as a result of the Florida franchisee’s breach.