Noble Roman’s Inc., parent company of Noble Roman’s Pizza and Tuscano’s Italian Style Subs, has been granted summary judgment in its favor for a long-running lawsuit.
The order came Dec. 23 in the Superior Court in Hamilton County, Ind. The lawsuit was brought forth in June 2008 by plaintiffs Kari Heyser, Fred Eric Heyser and Meck Enterprises LLC, et. al. The original group included 10 groups of franchisee-plaintiffs, however, one group has since dismissed its claims and another was held in contempt and dismissed its claims with prejudice.
The plaintiffs, former franchisees of the company, alleged Noble Roman’s fraudulently induced them to purchase franchises for traditional locations through misrepresentations and omissions of material facts. They were seeking compensatory and punitive damages of $5.1 million.
The plaintiffs’ allegations of fraud were determined to be without merit.
Drama is not over
Although the court ruled in favor of Noble Roman’s, the issue has yet to be fully resolved. Throughout the course of the case, the company filed a counter-claim for damages of contract breaches, seeking $3.6 million plus attorney’s fees.
The company’s counterclaims against all of the plaintiffs for breach of contract are pending.
Additionally, a separate claim was filed against Noble Roman’s Inc. by a group of franchisee-plaintiffs under the Indiana Franchise Act, and the court has denied the company’s motion for summary judgment, determining there is enough material evidence to proceed. The company denies liability and will continue to defend itself against this claim.
"We obviously are pleased that the court agreed with our position, however, for more than two years we have had to devote significant financial and personnel resources to defending ourselves against these meritless allegations,” said Paul Mobley, the company's chairman. “This development removes a distraction and enables us to intensify management's concentration on growing our non-traditional venues and grocery store products."