DENVER An attorney for the parent of Quiznos Subs fired back at the law firm representing franchisees in class-action lawsuits filed in Illinois, Wisconsin and Michigan against the chain, accusing a partner in the firm of “grandstanding with the press,” having “little knowledge of the Quiznos business,” and making misleading comments.
The assertions, which were also leveled at the head of a nationwide organization of Quiznos franchisees, came in a statement issued this afternoon to the media.
In the statement, Fredric A. Cohen of Cheng Cohen LLC noted that the announcement on April 19 of a lawsuit filed by the law firm Marks & Klein LLP in Illinois against Quiznos’ home office and former principal owners described the plaintiffs as Illinois franchisees. In fact, Cohen said, only five of the chain’s more than 200 franchisees in the state are participating in the suit.
"These claims are false, misleading, and wholly without merit and, therefore, the company must vigorously defend itself, its brand, and its goodwill on behalf its franchise owners throughout the nation," Cohen is quoted as saying.
He leveled the accusations against Justin Klein of Red Bank, N.J.-based Marks & Klein, as well as Christopher Bray, president of Toasted Subs Franchise Association Inc., a national franchisee group. In Thursday’s announcement of the Illinois lawsuit, Marks & Klein cited Bray as being a co-organizer of the action, which was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District.
The class action seeks unspecified damages and injunctive relief from what the plaintiffs contend are fraudulent practices. The announcement accused The Quiznos Franchise Co. LLC and Quiznos Franchising LLC, both based in Denver, of forcing franchisees to buy food and supplies at inflated prices that they cannot pass along to customers because of the chain's pricing stipulations. In addition, the suit alleges that the franchisors omitted or misrepresented key facts about the business while selling franchises.
Also named as defendants are Richard E. Schaden and his son, Richard F. Schaden, who previously wholly owned the franchising parties, and Cervantes Capital LLC, the company that ran Quiznos' Denver headquarters and field support operations for them.
Quiznos franchises more than 5,000 fast-casual sandwich shops.