Who is the appropriate defendant when suing a franchise?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Who is the appropriate defendant when suing a franchise?

I am considering suing my gym for continuing to bill me for several months after terminating my membership. It’s a franchise gym, so should I sue the owner or his franchise business? I don’t plan to go after corporate. Here’s the story. I was living in Michigan full time from July 2016 to July 2017, and then part-time until June 2018. While I was there full time I joined a gym and stuck with it while splitting my time because I expected to take a permanent job that would leave me in Michigan full time permanent. Things happened and got stuck staying with family while sorting out job issues and learned the position I was supposed to get was not going to be filled after all. So as I was getting my life back on track, I called them and said that I wanted to end my membership. They said that I had to do it in person, I said I was 8 hours away, and they agreed to let me do it by e-mail. I ended up taking a job in a third state, and amid all the hustle of moving and getting a new house set up my wife and I didn’t keep an eye on the details of the finances I know, bad move. I just found out they’ve billed us for seven months $279.65 after the agreed on termination. I am attempting to resolve this out of court but have little faith they will comply.

Asked on April 30, 2019 under Business Law, Michigan


S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

If you file a lawsuit, you should name the franchise and the owner as defendants.  You should also add DOES 1 through 20, inclusive as defendants. These are fictitious, but are included in case you have omitted other defendants. You might want to include the corporation as a defendant.

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