Fairview Donut Inc., et al. v. The TDL Group, Tim Hortons
Justice George R. Strathy of the Ontario Superior Court issued a summary judgment in favor of Analysis Group client Tim Hortons, Inc., dismissing claims by a putative class of franchisees that the Canadian coffee and doughnut franchisor was engaged in price fixing and other anticompetitive conduct. In the matter of Fairview Donut Inc., et al. v. The TDL Group, Tim Hortons, the plaintiffs alleged that Tim Hortons' conversion from a "scratch bake" system to an "always fresh" system, as well as its introduction of a lunch menu, created a breach of contract, unjust enrichment, and a breach of duty of good faith at common law and under the Arthur Wishart Act and under like statutes in other jurisdictions. The franchisees sought almost $2 billion in damages.
On behalf of the defendant, Stikeman Elliott LLP retained an Analysis Group team, led by Managing Principal Marc Van Audenrode and Vice President Marissa Ginn, to address class certification issues in the matter. Analysis Group affiliate and Queens University professor Roger Ware filed three reports refuting plaintiffs' claims. On the matter of class certification, Professor Ware opined that there was no common basis for calculating "harm" to franchisees as a result of Tim Hortons' business-model innovations, "because financial performance could only be determined on an individual basis." In his ruling, Judge Strathy agreed with Professor Ware's conclusions that the actions of the franchisor were based on "a rational business decision made by Tim Hortons for valid economic and strategic reasons." He dismissed plaintiffs' claims.
The case has been widely publicized in CBC news and other Canadian media.