SANTA CRUZ, Calif. -- A California judge has "dismissed with prejudice" a 7-Eleven franchisees lawsuit against the parent company and ordered the two sides to reach a joint agreement on both the claims and counterclaims in the lawsuit.
On Oct. 12, members of the National Coalition of Associations of 7-Eleven Franchisees (NCASEF), Universal City, Texas, filed a lawsuit against franchisor 7-Eleven Inc., alleging that the Irving, Texas-based company has been “chipping away at their profits, increasing their costs and exercising more control over what is supposed to be an independent operation.” In the lawsuit, the plaintiffs claimed that the franchisor has not fulfilled its promise of treating franchisees as independent contractors and business owners.
All of the plaintiffs’ claims were based on allegations that they were misclassified as independent contractors instead of employees of 7-Eleven, according to court documents. Subsequently, 7-Eleven requested a summary judgment on the case on the grounds that 7-Eleven is not the plaintiffs’ employer.
"The existence of a franchise agreement, alone, does not create an agency or employment relationship," a court document filed March 13 concludes.
As such, U.S. District Judge John F. Walter dismissed the case and ordered the parties to meet within the week.
"The parties shall lodge the joint proposed judgment with the court on or before March 19, 2018," a court document states. "In the unlikely event that counsel are unable to agree upon a joint proposed judgment, the parties shall each submit separate versions of a proposed judgment along with a joint statement setting forth their respective positions no later than March 19, 2018."
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