Attorneys Show Yin, Yang in ProCuts Hearing
Michael Dady, for the plaintiffs, was emotional, while outside Regis attorney James Susag was buttoned-down.
A hearing last week in Ansari v. Regis gave a birds-eye view into how much attorneys’ styles can differ in the courtroom, and enliven what could be a bone-dry debate.
On one side was J. Michael Dady, the Dady & Gardner attorney making an emotional appeal on behalf of Jason Ansari et al., the group of ProCuts franchisees who are suing Regis Corp. for its alleged abandonment of the brand.
“I would first like to make a historical reference,” Dady intoned, adding he and his law partner started their firm 20 years ago and “wanted to focus on one thing—to help franchisees. We’ve done that and only that.”
Along the way, “we've looked at over 350 contracts, and this is the most preposterous provision we’ve seen,” he ended with a flourish, referring to the clause in the contract that Regis maintains compels arbitration rather than a jury trial.
To put a face on the issue, Dady gestured to the plaintiffs behind him, saying “all of whom who could get excused from their current jobs are here with us today.” In other words, he implied, they’ve been so wronged that they no longer have their businesses and are back to working for the man.
Dady even mentioned the influence his mother had on his career, “like you, Judge Chu,” he said, indicating he had read up on Hennepin County District Court Judge Regina Chu, presiding.
On the other side was James Susag, the outside attorney for Regis, who took a buttoned-down approach to try to convince Chu to grant Regis’s motion to dismiss the complaints and compel arbitration.
“The starting point and ending point today is the franchise agreement, the contract,” Susag said, adding the plaintiffs have thrown a “patchwork” of arguments at the court to try to avoid arbitration.
He poked a bit of fun at Dady, “I appreciate Mr. Dady’s testifying today,” including his historical references, he said sarcastically. “That’s all great, but none of that is proper in this case.”
Judge Chu had asked Dady, “Isn’t it cheaper for your clients to do arbitration?” but Dady answered no. Susag begged to differ. “They want a group jury trial, but we will be back here many, many times before we get there. These are very unique and difficult cases and that’s why we want singular arbitration.”
Dady said he expected Judge Chu’s decision within 30 days.