Our Town Magazine v. Newfoundland Pa
Defendants are operating a similar magazine, which they have been named Home Town. This is a private franchise that they have been operating since 2012. They have a non-competition agreement and the parties have continued to abide by it. Despite this, a number of advertisers have threatened to discontinue advertising with the defendants. Some have also expressed concerns about the potential negative effects of continued advertising. The magazine has also been receiving disparaging calls from its advertisers. In response to these complaints, Our Town filed a motion for a temporary restraining order. It is expected that the court will grant a portion of this motion.
As a result, Our Town’s claims against the Defendants are expected to succeed. However, it is unlikely that it will prevail on its tortious interference with trade secrets and invention disclosure claims. Moreover, its motion to enjoin the Defendants from operating a similar publication may be denied in part.
As for the Franchise Agreement, it is likely that the Court will grant a portion of Our Town’s motion. Specifically, the Court will decide whether the Defendants have breached their Franchise Agreement, as well as whether the parties continue to abide by the terms of the contract. If this motion is allowed, the Court will then determine whether a TRO is appropriate. Ultimately, the Court will consider the factors that determine whether a franchise is a sale of a legitimate business interest, literary content, or a sale of a franchise.
Finally, the Court will determine whether there was any tortious interference with vendor relationships or prospective business relations. This issue is likely to be determined by the fact that the Defendants continued to use the same distributors and advertisers.