PITTSBURGH – A New Jersey academic tutoring center franchise alleges that a Bentleyville company and individual unlawfully opened a competing business.

Huntington Learning Centers Inc. filed a complaint on Sept. 7 in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania against Barbara Kearns-Jones and Athena Educates LLC alleging breach of contract and other counts.

According to the complaint, the parties entered into an agreement in July 2014 for the defendants to operate an HLC franchise in Robinson Township. The suit states sometime around March, the defendants established an academic service business not authorized by the plaintiff but uses the plaintiff's system as the model. The plaintiff also alleges this business is one mile from the defendants operated their HLC franchise, which it alleges is in violation of the agreement.

The plaintiff holds Barbara Kearns-Jones and Athena Educates, LLC responsible because the defendants allegedly breached their agreement with the plaintiff by opening a competing business and have failed to satisfy the post-termination obligations of the franchise agreement.

The plaintiff seeks to enjoin the defendants, order the defendants to transfer all confidential and proprietary manuals, clients and customer lists to the plaintiff, court costs and any further relief the court grants. It is represented by Christopher L. Nickels of Quarles & Brady LLP in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania case number 2:17-cv-01174-CRE

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U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania

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