Ellicott City, Md — A Planet Fitness franchisee is suing Planet Fitness, Dover, NH, and Brick Bodies, Cockeysville, MD, for violating the Maryland Franchise Registration and Disclosure Law and the Maryland Antitrust Act.
The franchisee, Diana Hamilton Dutt, and her husband, Hans Dutt, filed the lawsuit March 16. Other alleged violations in the 12-count complaint include fraud and civil conspiracy. The Dutts are seeking at least $10 million in damages.
John Craig, Planet Fitness brand development director, and Josh Gerber, Brick Bodies marketing director, both say that the lawsuit has no merit and that they are confident the courts will side with their respective companies. Neither company provided any further comment.
In 2006, Hamilton Dutt opened a Planet Fitness franchise in Maryland and later opened a second club.
Victor and Lynne Brick, owners of Brick Bodies, purchased a Planet Fitness development deal in late 2007 for $850,000, the largest Planet Fitness rights deal at the time. The agreement required the Bricks to open 34 Planet Fitness clubs in the span of 10 years.
The complaint claims that Planet Fitness did not disclose to Hamilton Dutt in its uniform franchise offering circular that Planet Fitness had area development agreements (ADAs) in exclusive territories with franchisees in other states and could enter into ADAs in Maryland, which would block Hamilton Dutt's ability to open new clubs or move her existing clubs, according to the complaint.
For more details about this lawsuit, read the complete story online at www.fitnessbusinesspro.com.