G&S (Again) Prevails Against Rent-A-Wreck of America, Inc. in Appeal to the Fourth Circuit.
A significant victory in a hard-fought case against an implacable and well-financed opponent was recently achieved on March 10, 2015, by the firm (Roger Simmons & Jake Weddle) in David Schwartz, et al. v JJF Management Services, Inc., et al., Case No. 13-2189, before the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. See opinion. In the 1970s, David Schwartz, the firm’s client, created and founded a revolutionary rental car system that later became Rent-A-Wreck of America, Inc. In 2006, Rent-A-Wreck of America, Inc. was purchased by local car dealer and businessman, Jack Fitzgerald, who, in one of its first acts, directed the company to terminate the rental car franchise of its founder, David Schwartz, “just to ‘see how high [Schwartz] jumps.” After two jury trials and two wins by David Schwartz, Rent-A-Wreck of America, Inc. launched a second appeal to the Fourth Circuit. This second appeal led to a unanimous opinion by the Court in Schwartz’s favor, holding that the District Court “rightly rejected” Rent-A-Wreck of America, Inc.’s attempts to undo the express and/or implied-in-fact contracts formed over forty years of history favoring Schwartz in the operation of his business within an exclusive territory in Los Angeles, California. David Schwartz now enjoys a Rent-A-Wreck franchise whereby he pays no fees to the national company and may operate in his exclusive territory in Los Angeles for the rest of his life.