• April 27, 2016
Maid Rite

Seriously Unappetizing & Made Wrong…

Update (April 27, 2016): That didn’t take much time. The liberation of unpaid lawyers from their servitude to dead-beat clients is proceeding now that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit clarified the standard. This is good news not only for Minnesota civil litigators, but also their paying clients and their pro bono clients, for whom the lawyers will have more time..

Original post (March 14, 2016): It’s a cleaning service! It’s a pharmacy! No… it’s MAID-RITE! And it is a restaurant franchising opportunity (or maybe not so much)! It calls itself “home of the loose meat sandwich” and I am not lying about that.

“Plaintiffs allege that defendants made unlawful representations regarding the company’s profitability that induced them into purchasing franchises and opening Maid-Rite restaurants. Plaintiffs allege losses in excess of $4 million.”

In all doo respect, the red flag was there for all to see: a restaurant called “Maid-Rite.” The name itself triggers imaginary odors of cleaning supplies and latex. The name is also an orthographic obscenity (shouldn’t it be called “home of the lose-meet sandwich”?).

So the plaintiffs allegedly got their wallets cleaned out by the sellers of Maid-Rite franchises.

How do you imagine the defense lawyers for Maid-Rite fared?

Will it shock you to read that the masterminds of Maid-Rite seem to have stiffed their lawyers, whom they had hired to defend them against the plaintiffs’ claims?

Larkin moved to withdraw on January 28, 2015. This was over six months prior to the close of discovery and more than one year before the earliest possible trial date. The motion was denied without prejudice on March 6, 2015 because defendants had not yet secured substitute counsel, communication had not entirely broken down, and withdrawal would delay the case. On April 16, 2015 the magistrate judge stayed discovery while the district court considered the motion. The district court affirmed on June 5, 2015, and Larkin filed this interlocutory appeal. On July 20, 2015 the firm’s motion to stay pending its interlocutory appeal was granted.

Failing attempts at humor aside, this is a positive decision for Minnesota civil litigators (and other federal court civil litigators practicing in the Eighth Circuit). It has now been made clear that “the denial of a motion to withdraw is an appropriate basis for an interlocutory appeal.” (So law firms are not forced to litigate cases until their conclusions to appeal denials of a motion to withdraw.)

As previously discussed here and here on Minnesota Litigator, there is a serious problem of lawyers being forced to work without pay for clients who are deadbeats. If lawyers can be freed of the undeserving non-paying clients (pro malo clients?), it will, of course, free them up for both their paying clients and it will increase lawyers’ capacity for truly deserving pro bono publico clients, as well.

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