Ballard Spahr Gets Boot, But Quiznos Cases Roll On
“It is what it is,” says Jeff Cohen, the attorney at Ballard Spahr in Denver who was handling lawsuits against Quiznos on behalf of 13 franchisees. His firm has been disqualified, when the judge agreed with Quiznos claims that partners there had a conflict of interest.
Cohen is philosophical, even though he’s spent months working on the cases and believes in his clients’ cause. “Things happen in life. I’ve been doing it 32 years, and things happen,” he says. “You just do the best you can for your clients. Courts have their own views of things.”
Ric Cohen, partner at Cheng Cohen in Chicago, is outside counsel for Quiznos and the man who worked to boot Ballard Spahr under Colorado’s professional conduct rules. “It’s not an unusual tactic,” he says. “What’s unusual is that Ballard Spahr would have represented these plaintiffs against Quiznos when Quiznos had been a client of several partners in the Ballard Spahr firm.”
Of course the fight goes on. Jeff Springer of Springer & Steinberg in Denver has already scooped up the cases, but he isn’t ready to give any details of his approach just yet. “We’re fighting motions to dismiss right now, so I wouldn’t want to do any chest-pounding while we’re sorting that out.”
Although the disqualification of Ballard Spahr is dramatic, probably more significant is a simultaneous ruling that stays six of the cases until mandatory arbitration is completed. Both moves are a setback for the 13 franchisees who say they are struggling. One plaintiff who used to have 12 stores said the second week of August he has closed all of them.