Tim Hortons franchisee group files new lawsuit against parent company

Tim Hortons called the lawsuit “unfounded,” in a statement by its media relations team

The legal battle between a group of Tim Hortons franchisees and their parent company escalated Friday as the corporate-unsanctioned association filed a lawsuit alleging that Restaurant Brands International, its subsidiary and several executives continually subvert their right to associate.

The defendants have engaged in conduct that “seeks to interfere with, restrict, penalize, or threaten franchisees from exercising their rights to associate,” according to a lawsuit filed in an Ontario Superior Court of Justice on behalf of two franchisees who belong to the Great White North Franchisee Association. None of the claims have been proven in court.

Tim Hortons called the lawsuit “unfounded,” in a statement by its media relations team.

“We have always been clear that we will not interfere with our franchisees’ right to associate and that remains true today,” it read, adding the lawsuit is the latest tactic of the group’s “disregard for the brand and our restaurant owners.”

The GWNFA, which incorporated in March to raise franchisee concerns over the management of the brand, alleges the defendants systematically stymied their group.

The claim alleges this pattern includes the defendants denying future store opportunities to franchisees because they are “not aligned” with Tim Hortons’s interest and setting aside a $2 billion fund to buy out franchisees who have joined the GWNFA or may do so in the future.

READ MORE: Burger King, Tim Hortons join forces to form world’s 3rd largest fast food company

READ MORE: Fraser Valley Classic Car Show doubles down with Tim Hortons

“It is happening. We know it’s happening,” said GWNFA president David Hughes, one of the lead plaintiffs.

He hopes the lawsuit, which is seeking about $850 million in damages from RBI and its subsidiary, will force the parent company to reconsider legal action it commenced late last month.

RBI subsidiary the TDL Group Corp. served default notices to all of the GWNFA’s board members, including Hughes, on Sept. 18. The company accused them of providing confidential information to Tim Hortons former CEO Don Schroeder, who then allegedly gave it to a Canadian newspaper.

Schroeder and the GWNFA deny these claims, and the association included the legal action in its statement of claim as proof of the company’s efforts to hamper its operations.

This is the group’s second lawsuit against the company.

In June, a $500-million lawsuit filed on behalf of franchisee and GWNFA member Mark Kuziora alleged RBI improperly used money from a national advertising fund. The allegations have not been proven in court and RBI said at the time that it vehemently disagrees with and denies all the allegations.

The lawsuit is currently in the preliminary stages, said Hughes, and the GWNFA hopes it will move before a judge in early 2018.

While the two sides are now mostly communicating through lawyers, Hughes said the association is willing to sit down with executives and work out a fair deal for franchisees.

Until that deal is achieved, it doesn’t appear Hughes will back down.

“I’m the guy that started. I’m the guy that’s going to stand. If I’m the last man standing, so be it.”

Aleksandra Sagan, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

UPDATE: Power restored to Vernon

Power went down around 4:30 p.m. in the middle of the city, reportedly caused by vandalism

Okanagan-Shuswap weather: mix of sun and clouds

Environment Canada is predicting a 30 per cent chance of showers and a risk of thunderstorms this afternoon across the Okanagan

Vernon pageant participant heads stateside

Samantha Sewell will represent North America at Miss Royalty International in Milwaukee

Vernon summer mural tours start with new guides

The mural tours started on June 28 and will run until Sept. 27

PHOTOS: Armstrong MetalFest rocks Hassen

Big crowds gather for popular two-day annual heavy metal music festival

VIDEO: Okanagan Valley weekday weather update

Environment Canada says it’s going to be a rainy week

Boy’s best friend gets help from South Okanagan community

Community rallies around dog that needed surgery for two broken legs

Youth seen with gun at Nanaimo mall, suspect now in custody

Woodgrove Centre shut down during police incident

B.C. man dies from rabies after contact with Vancouver Island bat

Last known case of human rabies in B.C. was 16 years ago

Crown recommends up to two-year jail term for former Bountiful leader

Crown says sentence range should be 18 months to two years for Bountiful child removal case

B.C.-wide police efforts identify Vancouver Island robbery suspect

Warrant issued for arrest of North Vancouver man for TD Bank robbery

VIDEO: Wolf spotted swimming ashore on northern Vancouver Island

Island wolf population estimated at under 150 in 2008, says VI-Wilds

B.C. couple bring son home from Nigeria after long adoption delay

Kim and Clark Moran of Abbotsford spent almost a year waiting to finalize adoption of Ayo, 3

UPDATE: special council meeting set for Wednesday, Basran in talks with province

Opponents of McCurdy house says she won’t ‘relinquish possession’ of more than 14,000 names

Most Read