Quiznos franchisees fight back

Dec. 14, 2006
A group of franchisees whose agreements were terminated by Quiznos filed an injunction Dec. 15 in the District Court of Colorado.
Quiznos terminated their agreements after their organization, the Toasted Subs Franchisee Association, published a suicide letter on its Web site written by Bhupinder Baber, a former TSFA member. The injunction says the group intended to raise funds for the Baber family, not defame Quiznos. According to the injunction, the plaintiffs are entitled to temporary relief in order to maintain the status quo during the pendancy of this action.
Baber, a Long Beach, Calif., franchisee committed suicide Nov. 27 in the bathroom of his Quiznos restaurant. In an interview with FastCasual.com, his wife confirmed her husband wrote a suicide letter that was highly critical of Quiznos.
"Quiznos has killed me. Destroyed my life. Destroyed my family life for the past seven years," Baber wrote in the note.
Baber had been in litigation with Quiznos since 2005.
According to the complaint, Quiznos attacked Baber because of his outspoken positions over the franchise relationship with Quiznos. To this end, the TSFA says, Quiznos terminated the Babers' franchises and on two occasions sued him.
As for canceling the TSFA board member agreements, Jeff Letwin, an attorney for Schnader Harrison Segal & Lewis, is a 22-year franchise law veteran and has never seen a franchisor take this approach before.
"Seems to be a pretty harsh punishment," Letwin said. "I have trouble believing a court would uphold something like this."
Although Quiznos has not commented on the story, the company released an internal memo to its franchisees, which read, "This group states 'that their mission is to work with Quiznos to participate in cooperative communications, coordinated efforts and a focus on common issues.' They in fact promote only their own agenda through their repeated and hostile efforts to publicly damage the goodwill and reputation of the Quiznos brand and all of you who have worked so hard to build that brand and your business."

Topics: Franchising & Growth , Legal Issues , Sandwich

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