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

Langley church prepares massive meal

A local chef and parishioners are taking charge in the kitchen for St. Joseph’s 25th annual dinner.

Giants ‘stuff’ Cougars

Vancouver blanks Cougars on Teddy Bear Toss night at Langley Events Centre

Star Wars auction in Langley draws ‘crazy’ response

Seller said to be “very happy” with results

Police sketch shows suspect in assault of 23-year-old woman

Incident took place Nov. 14 on Maclure Road in Abbotsford

An unpleasant surprise online for Langley anti-hate campaigner

Text from newspaper article about his efforts was used to link to suspect websites

VIDEO: Langley Christmas Bureau braces for busy toy distribution days

Volunteers spent the weekend sorting gifts donated for kids from Langley’s underprivileged families.

Family suspends search for missing Alberta couple, plane near Revelstoke

Due to bad weather, families of missing Albertan couple say they will resume in the spring

Canadian grocers make $3M per year from penny-rounding: UBC study

Ottawa announced plans in 2012 to phase out the copper coin

Sagmoen neighbours recall alleged hammer attack

Woman was screaming outside Maple Ridge townhouse in 2013

‘The Last Jedi’ opens with $220M, 2nd best weekend all-time

As anticipated, the movie fell shy of the opening weekend for J.J. Abrams’ 2015 franchise reboot

2 couples tie the knot in Australia’s 1st same-sex weddings

West Australian couple Anne Sedgwick, Lyn Hawkins have been together for 40 years

EDITORIAL: Putting #MeToo to work in your workplace

Workers from top to bottom need to stand together against the bully of sexual harassment

Update: RCMP arrest domestic assault suspect west of Kamloops.

The RCMP Emergency Response Team made the arrest at around 4:30 p.m.

Most Read