United States District Court, D. Connecticut
SIMON MUJO and INDRIT MUHARREMI, on behalf of themselves and all others similarly situated, Plaintiffs,
JANI-KING INTERNATIONAL INC., et al., Defendants.
RULING AND ORDER ON MOTION FOR
A. BOLDEN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
December 30, 2019, Simon Mujo and Indrit Muharremi, on behalf
of a class of over 100 Jani-King franchisees (collectively
“Plaintiffs”), moved for reconsideration of this
Court's December 21, 2019 Ruling and Order on a motion
for summary judgment filed by Jani-King International, Inc.,
Jani-King, Inc., and Jani-King of Hartford, Inc.
(collectively “Defendants” or
“Jani-King”). Pls.' Mot. for Reconsideration,
ECF No. 176 (Dec. 30, 2019) (“Pls.' Mot.”),
Pls.' Mem. in Support of Pls.' Mot., ECF No. 176-1
(Dec. 30, 2019) (“Pls.' Mem.”); see
also Ruling and Order on Mot. for Summ. J., ECF No. 175
(Dec. 21, 2019) (“Ruling and Order”).
Local Rule 7(c), Plaintiffs ask the Court to reconsider its
decision granting summary judgment for Jani-King and
dismissing Plaintiffs' unjust enrichment claim. Pls.'
Mot. at 1 (citing D. Conn. L. Civ. R. 7(c)).
reasons discussed below, the motion for reconsideration is
Court will assume familiarity with the underlying record of
this case and will only discuss matters relevant to resolving
10, 2019, Jani-King timely moved for summary judgment, and
filed a supporting memorandum, a statement of material facts,
and twenty other exhibits. See Docket Entries, ECF
No. 136 (June 10, 2019) (containing the referenced filings).
August 2, 2019, Plaintiffs timely opposed Jani-King's
motion for summary judgment, and filed their supporting
memorandum of law, response to Jani-King's statement of
material facts, a supporting memorandum, and fourteen
exhibits, see Docket Entries, ECF Nos. 154-56 (Aug.
2, 2019 (containing the referenced filings). Jani-King timely
replied, see Defs. Reply in Support of Jani-King
Mot., ECF No. 161 (Aug. 16, 2019), and on November 19, 2019,
the Court held a hearing on Jani-King's motion for
summary judgment, Minute Entry, ECF No. 172 (Nov. 19, 2019).
parties' filings focused primarily on the
employment/independent contractor issue, i.e., whether
Plaintiffs were unlawfully misclassified as independent
contractors, but there was no discussion of the value of the
various fees paid by Plaintiffs under the franchise
December 21, 2019, the Court granted Jani-King's motion
for summary judgment and dismissing Plaintiffs' remaining
unjust enrichment claim. The Court applied Connecticut's
ABC test for independent contractor misclassification, Conn.
Gen. Stat. § 31-222(a)(1)(B)(ii), and found that a
reasonable factfinder could conclude that Jani-King
unlawfully misclassified Plaintiffs as independent
contractors. Ruling and Order at 17-33.
however, did not have a viable claim for relief under unjust
enrichment, because they argued only that the franchise
agreement is an employment agreement, so any fees made under
the franchise agreement are void as a matter of law.
Id. at 33-37 (“But in order to have a viable
claim, Plaintiffs must do more than show that the franchise
agreement is an employment agreement and then conclusorily
assert that any fee or payment required by the franchise
agreement is void as a matter of law.”). The Court had
already rejected this argument when it dismissed
Plaintiffs' § 31-71c wage claim.
Based on this record, Plaintiffs' § 31-73(b) claim
rests solely on the franchise agreement being an employment
agreement in violation of public policy. As they have argued
in their opposition, “the franchise fees explicitly
require cleaning workers to pay large sums in exchange for
cleaning work in violation of public policy.” Pls.'
Opp. at 38 (citations and footnote omitted). They also argue
that “[b]ecause they have to pay so much money upfront
to obtain their cleaning work, the franchisees must keep
working for Jani-King to earn back the money they have been
paid.” Id. at 39. Additionally, Plaintiffs
submit that “[o]ther ongoing fees such as insurance,
advertising, accounting, and technology fees, also must be
paid as a condition of continued employment, or Jani-King has
the right to terminate the franchise.” Id.
(citation omitted). Finally, Plaintiffs argue that
Jani-King's practice of deducting
“charge-backs” from Plaintiff's gross revenue
is also violative of public policy. See Id. at 39-40
(“A ‘charge-back' occurs when a customer
fails to pay Jani-King for work already performed by
Id. at 38.
on Connecticut law, specifically the Connecticut Franchise
Act, Conn. Gen. Stat. §§ 42-133e - 42-133h, the
Court found that the fees paid under the franchise agreement
could not be per se invalid and must have some
value. Id. at 39. Yet, despite the various filings,
Plaintiffs did not identify the value of the franchise
agreement itself, nor did they identify the fees that were
added beyond that value. Id. Instead,
Plaintiffs' arguments focused on the independent
contractor misclassification ...