SAN FRANCISCO – A former franchise owner is suing Jackson Hewitt Inc. over allegations that parts of its franchise contract are unenforceable under California law.
Ibrahim Shah, a former franchisee of the Virginia-based corporation, filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California on Jan. 13 against Jackson Hewitt, citing unfair competition and breach of contract.
According to the complaint, Shah, a resident of Alameda County, is self-employed as an accountant. In 2002, Shah entered into a franchise agreement with Jackson Hewitt for 10 years, ending in 2012, and the two carried out a month-to-month agreement after until January, the complaint states.
The franchise agreement states that if an agreement contains a provision that is inconsistent with the law, the law prevails, according to the complaint. The agreement also contains various noncompetition provisions and those provisions are void under California Business and Professions Code section 16600, the suit states. According to the complaint, Shah alleges that the noncompetition provision is unenforceable under state law, while the defendant contends that it is.
Shah is seeking declaratory relief that the noncompetition provision, choice of forum provision and choice of law and arbitration provisions are all unenforceable. Also, he is seeking all available remedies for breach of contract, which includes damage, cost of suit and attorney’s fees. He is represented Robert S. Boulter of Boulter Law in San Rafael.
U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California Case number 3:16-cv-00212-MEJ