Legal Alert - Patterson v. Domino’s: California Supreme Court Lends Important Guidance on Franchisor Liability
by M.C. Sungaila
Taylor Patterson claimed that Domino’s, as the franchisor of thousands of pizza stores across the nation, should be held responsible for sexual harassment she experienced from a fellow employee over a two-week period when she worked at a Thousand Oaks Domino’s store owned and run by franchisee Sui Juris. The trial court granted summary judgment in favor of Domino’s Pizza LLC, Domino’s Pizza Franchising and Domino’s Pizza, Inc. (collectively, Domino’s), on the grounds that Domino’s did not have the power to control day-to-day operations at Sui Juris; rather, Sui Juris, as the franchisee, had the power to hire, fire and train employees, and therefore Domino’s could not be vicariously liable for the alleged harassment. The Court of Appeal reversed.