Eric Karp writes at Blue MauMau that Benjamin Franklin long ago remarked that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Based upon a recent adverse ruling against Quizno’s and in favor of its former franchisee, Mr. Franklin might well agree that the going rate for a pound of cure can be quantified as $350,000 in damages plus attorney’s fees.
Perhaps most noteworthy about the large wrongful termination verdict delivered in blistering fashion by the court in Quiznos Franchising II, LLC v. Zig Zag Restaurant Group, LLC, et al, (Denver County (CO) District Court, Civil Action No. 06-CV-10765) is that the case literally revolved around a single ounce – the ounce of meat that Quizno’s claimed the franchisee had shorted from one of its sandwiches in September 2006, for which Quizno’s thereafter sought to terminate the franchise agreement.
In Zig Zag, the Colorado state judge, the Hon. Morris B. Hoffman, described Quizno’s default and termination notices – sent to the defendant as well as 300 other franchisees – as a “charade”, driven not by any genuine concern as to whether the franchisee was making sandwiches to company specifications, but instead by Quizno’s overriding public relations desire to substantiate its national advertising campaign against Subway, in which Quizno’s claimed that its sandwiches had “more than twice the meat” of comparable Subway sandwiches.
The court observed that the mystery shopper test upon which the default and termination notices were based was “laughingly unreliable”, and it further noted that Quizno’s own staff had classified the alleged one-ounce shortcoming as “not 100% intentional”.
The court concluded that Quizno’s had singled out the defendants by pursuing the threatened termination (unlike the other 300 franchisees who were not forced to close as a result of the failed mystery shopper test) because its general counsel was angry that the defendants had planned to call a news conference to discuss the unreasonable manner in which they were being treated.
Read the rest story at Blue MauMau