Burger King Loses Round One In Headline-Grabbing $1.9 Billion Lawsuit <b></B>

Detroit-Burger King and Pizza Hut guru LaVan Hawkinsrecently won "round one" in his $1.9 billion lawsuitagainst Burger King Corp. Famed attorney Willie Gary of Florida,along with attorney Norman Yatooma of Michigan, are representingHawkins.

Chief U.S. District Judge William J. Zloch stayed BurgerKing's action against Hawkins' UrbanCityFood Group inFlorida. Burger King's lawsuit included a request for aninjunction to close down Hawkins' 27 franchise restaurants inMichigan and throughout the country. The court ruled that where thelitigation was first filed dictates where the proceedings will belitigated when there is a substantial overlap between the issuesraised in parallel proceedings in two different jurisdictions.Accordingly, the court ordered that Burger King's action was tobe marked as closed.

Noting that Burger King filed a $6.5 million lawsuit againstHawkins in Miami just five days after Hawkins sued Burger King for$1.9 billion in Detroit, attorney Maria Sperando of the Gary firmstated that the court reached the right conclusion for the rightreasons.

Hawkins initiated the litigation in the U.S. District Court inDetroit for reasons of fraud, misrepresentation, breach of contractand racial discrimination, among other issues. His case is pendingbefore Federal Judge Marianne Battani.

According to the July 31, 2000 Financial Times, ReverendJesse Jackson has been called in to mediate the case. Gary refersto Hawkins as the "Bill Gates of the fast food industry"and accused Burger King of reneging on its commitments afterbenefiting from Hawkins' genius.

National activists who support him, including Dick Gregory,Reverend Al Sharpton and Reverend Wendell Anthony (president of theNAACP Detroit chapter), consistently emphasize that the fight withBurger King is not about Hawkins but about the fact that"promises made should be promises kept. Burger King'spromise to award Hawkins 225 franchise stores over five years hasbeen broken and Hawkins and the community that he represents havebeen irreparably damaged as a result," Reverend Sharpton said.-PRNewswire

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