Tim Hortons, franchisee group close to settling two class-action lawsuits
Tim Hortons and an association representing some of its frustrated
franchisees are close to reaching a settlement in two class-action
lawsuits the group filed against the coffee-and-doughnut chain.
Tim Hortons and the Great White North Franchisee Association
submitted a term sheet signed by their respective legal counsel to
justice Edward Morgan at the Ontario Superior Court of Justice
"I think both parties, we've worked really hard to reach this point
and I think that it's going to be positive for the Tim Hortons brand
moving forward and for our guests and for Tim Horton franchisees," said
Mark Walker, the GWNFA's president.
The three-page document, which comes after weeks of negotiations
between the two parties, is non-binding, but outlines the key points to a
future settlement in the two cases.
The first lawsuit, filed in June 2017, alleged Restaurant Brands
International, the parent company of Tim Hortons, improperly used funds
from a national advertising fund. It sought $500 million in damages. RBI
denied the allegations and they have not been proven in court.
The second lawsuit, filed in Oct. 2017, alleged RBI subverted the
franchisees' right to associate by denying future store opportunities to
franchisees "not aligned" with the chain's interest, for example, or
setting aside a $2-billion fund to buy out the GWNFA's current and
future members. RBI also denied these allegations and they were also not
proven in court.
The key terms of a future settlement address some of these concerns, said Walker and a source familiar with the case.