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Update: Judge Grants TRO Barring 9 Area Restaurants From Using Perkins Brand

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio — A federal judge in Memphis, Tenn., this morning granted Perkins & Marie Callender’s LLC a temporary restraining order that bars nine area restaurants — and 15 more in Ohio, Pennsylvania and New York — from operating as a Perkins restaurant.

Following a hearing this morning, U.S. Judge Jon P. McCalla ordered Campbells Land Co. Inc. to stop using Perkins’ trademark, its oversized flags, bakery display cases, “any and all signs, flags, menus, fixtures, furniture, furnishings, equipment, advertising, materials, stationery , supplies, forms or other articles that display or contain any PMC trademark.” That includes trademarks affixed to uniforms, according to the ruling.

Campbells Land Co. Inc is also barred from disclosing confidential information related to the operations of the restaurants. The company must change the telephone numbers of the restaurants, alter the physical interior and exterior decor of the restaurants to “effectively de-identify the restaurants from the PMC Perkins’ brand.” And it is restrained from destroying any communications or evidence related to the claims alleged by PMC in its lawsuit.

The nine Perkins restaurants operated in the region by Campbells Land Co. are in Boardman (pictured above), Austintown, Warren, Niles and Ashtabula, as well as in New Castle, Greenville, Hermitage and Grove City, Pa.

PMC filed its lawsuit June 27, claiming CLC defaulted on license agreements and owes nearly $2.2 million in franchise fees.

“5171 Campbells Land Co. Inc. has been in default since April 2018 failing to pay agreed upon royalty fees, marketing contributions and transfer fees as well as failure to complete construction on multiple pending projects and uphold the standards set forth in the license agreements,” PMC said in a statement.

“Despite innumerable attempts to resolve the situation with the franchisee, and CLC’s repeated failure to comply, Perkins & Marie Callender’s was compelled to terminate their license agreement in early June 2019 and is now asking for the court’s assistance in closing the 26 restaurants.”

The complaint states that CLC failed to complete required reconstruction of “certain parts of the Boardman, Canton, Grove City and Austintown restaurants,” that it purchased from non-approved vendors and sold unapproved products and “specials” and that it “failed 16 quality assurances, including four failures of food safety.”

On May 17, the president and CEO of Perkins & Marie Callendar, Jeff D. Warne, sent a letter to CDC “informing them of PMC’s grave concerns regarding the Pennsylvania Bureau of Food Safety and Laboratory Services’ temporary closure of the Grove City restaurant due to a number of health and safety deficiencies, some of which related to construction that had dragged on for a year,” the lawsuit states. “The letter further detailed how the restaurant’s closure resulted in unfavorable media coverage, which raised concerns of harm to PMC’s goodwill and other Perkins restaurants in the region.”

A hearing on making the temporary restraining order a preliminary injunction is set for July 8.

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Copyright 2019 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.