Former Burger King Chair and CEO Supports La-Van Hawkins' Claims Against Burger King Corp.

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Detroit-In a major development in the La-Van Hawkins vs. Burger King Corp. $1.9 billion lawsuit, former chair and CEO of Burger King, Robert Lowes, has stepped forward in total support of claims made by La-Van Hawkins against the Burger King Corp. This development could significantly change the direction of the lawsuit because Lowes will provide inside information confirming Burger King's agreement with Hawkins on the development and acquisition of 225 stores over a period of five years.

The relationship between Hawkins and Burger King began in 1995 when Burger King fraudulently induced Hawkins to build Burger King stores and become a franchisee, targeting the inner-city market. Recognizing the potential of urban locations, Burger King announced that it would join forces with Hawkins, who had solidly carved out a national reputation as a franchise luminary, offering him the opportunity to acquire and/or develop Burger King restaurants over a five-year period, at the rate of 45 restaurants per year.

In April of this year, Hawkins filed a lawsuit alleging that Burger King fraudulently induced him to Burger King and reneged on its commitment to help him open 225 inner-city stores in urban markets throughout the country.

In April, represented by internationally recognized trial attorney, Willie Gary, with Michigan attorney, Norman Yatooma, Hawkins emerged victoriously in the first round of the $1.9 billion lawsuit. Florida Chief U.S. District Judge William Zloch stayed Burger King's action against Hawkins' UrbanCity Food Group in Florida. Burger King's lawsuit included a request for an injunction to close down Hawkins' 27 franchise restaurants in Michigan and throughout the country. The court ruled that where the litigation was first filed dictates where the proceedings will be litigated when there is a substantial overlap between the issues raised in parallel proceedings in two different jurisdictions. Accordingly, the court ordered that Burger King's action was to be marked as closed.

Hawkins is the nation's most successful African-American franchisee, with sales in excess of $192 million per year. -PR Newswire

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