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Arrington v. Burger King Worldwide, Inc.

United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida

March 24, 2020, Decided; March 24, 2020, Filed

CASE NO. 18-24128-CIV-MARTINEZ/OTAZO-REYES

Opinion

ORDER GRANTING MOTION TO DISMISS

THIS MATTER comes before the Court upon the Rule 12(b)(6) Motion to Dismiss ("Motion") filed by Defendants, Burger King Worldwide, Inc., Burger King Corporation, Restaurant Brands International, Inc., and Restaurant Brands International Limited Partnership (DE 42). The Court has reviewed the Motion, response and reply thereto, and is otherwise fully advised. For the following reasons, the Motion is GRANTED.

I. Background

Burger King Corporation ("BKC") issues franchise licenses to own and operate Burger King branded restaurants pursuant to a standard franchise agreement. (DE 34, Am. Compl. ¶¶ 8, 22). As of 2007, the Burger King chain has more than 7,226 [*5]  restaurants in the United States. (Id. ¶ 63). BKC owns and operates 50 of these, all of which are located in the Miami area. (Id. ¶¶ 22, 63). The remainder are franchised. (Id.) A franchisee joins the Burger King system by executing a standard franchise agreement with BKC. According to Plaintiffs, "[e]very franchisee signing a Burger King franchise agreement since at least 2010 and before September 2018 executed and agreed to be bound" by a "No-Hire Agreement" incorporated into the standard franchise agreement. (Id. ¶ 8). That agreement provides:

Neither BKC nor Franchisee will attempt, directly or indirectly, to entice or induce, or attempt to entice or induce any employee of the other or of another Franchisee of BKC to leave such employment, or employ such employee within six (6) months after his or her termination of employment with such employer, except with the prior written consent of such employer.

(Am. Compl. ¶ 6).

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2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 51852 *; 2020-1 Trade Cas. (CCH) P81,145

JARVIS ARRINGTON, GENEVA BLANCHARD, and SANDRA MUNSTER, individually and on behalf of all others similarly situated, Plaintiffs, vs. BURGER KING WORLDWIDE, INC., BURGER KING CORPORATION, RESTAURANT BRANDS INTERNATIONAL, INC., and RESTAURANT BRANDS INTERNATIONAL LIMITED PARTNERSHIP, Defendants.

Subsequent History: Dismissed by, Motion denied by, As moot Arrington v. Burger King Worldwide, Inc., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 155050 (S.D. Fla., Aug. 24, 2020)

CORE TERMS

franchisee, Burger, franchise, restaurant, concerted, antitrust, teams, entities, Brands, anticompetitive, coordinated, conspiracy, franchisor