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Marron Lawyers goes 6 for 6 in arbitration wins, defeating $50M Class Action in the Process

Steve Rice, Paul Marron and members of the Firm’s Trial Team concluded 2023 going 6 for 6 in arbitrations conducted before 6 different arbitrators, in cases where 6 different ‘mom and pop’ franchisees claimed employee status against a national franchisor and its affiliates. The Firm compelled an underlying class action purporting to represent 500 franchisees and their employees to individual arbitration in the face of a class action that sought $50,000,000.

The Firm then litigated 6 individual (2 week minimum) arbitrations throughout 2022 & 2032. Plaintiffs counsel were a consortium of noted California wage & hour firms that collectively have recovered over $1B in other class action lawsuits. Plaintiffs sought attorney fees awards in excess of $10M in the arbitrations but received no fee or cost awards because they lost each arbitration.

After their sixth consecutive loss, Plaintiff’s counsel “cried uncle” and settled the case for pennies on the dollar. In a financially devastating settlement for plaintiffs and their lawyers, the plaintiffs each recovered less than 1% of the damages they sought and the lawyers did not recover enough to even meet the expenses they had advanced and lost out on their massive attorney fee investment in the cases. Plaintiff’s counsel volunteered they would never sue the franchisor again.

Mr. Rice and the Firm’s excellence in winning 6 arbitrations in a row is an exceptional result. In that all plaintiffs/claimants were able to invoke California’s notoriously hostile ABC independent contractor misclassification law in each case, the wins are unprecedented and buck the trend in many other cases where franchisors are being held liable as employers, particularly for smaller franchisees that have limited business experience and operate with one or two employees.

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