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Federal Court Rules in Burger King's Favor in Hawkins Case <b></b>

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Miami-Judge Marianne Battani of the U.S. District Courtfor the Eastern District of Michigan entered a summary judgmenttoday dismissing all claims made by LaVan Hawkins and his operatingcompanies against Burger King Corp., thereby paving the way for thecompany to pursue an injunction that would demand Hawkinsrelinquish control of his restaurants. Burger King had beenattempting to reach a settlement with Hawkins for more than 18months and began seeking relief through the courts in April of thisyear.

"We are pleased by the court's ruling. It'swell-reasoned and applies the law correctly," said Barry Blum,chief legal counsel for Burger King. "This ruling will allowus to now focus our attention on an orderly transition of Mr.Hawkins' 22 restaurants in Chicago, Detroit, Atlanta andMaryland. It is our hope that we can come to terms with Mr. Hawkinsto transfer ownership as quickly as possible, thereby assuring theemployees, suppliers and customers that these restaurants willremain open."

In his lawsuit filed against Burger King in April, Hawkinscharged the fast-food company with defamation of character, fraudand interference with his ability to conduct business, saying thecompany reneged on a promise to provide him with 225 restaurants inurban areas within five years. Burger King later filed a lawsuitagainst Hawkins alleging that he didn't pay his $6.5 milliondebt to the corporation for royalty payments on his franchiserestaurants.

"This ruling means Burger King has to sit down andnegotiate a deal with me for the restaurants," Hawkins said."This ruling does not have anything to do with the commitmentthat was made to me or to the black community."-PRNewswire, Detroit Free Press

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