Two O'Fallon Burger King restaurants are among the five owned by Joseph R. Gunther and Vicki Gunther that are the target of a lawsuit by Burger King Corporate.
The case was filed on Jan. 28 in Miami, Florida where the Burger King corporate offices are located.
The lawsuits state that the two O'Fallon locations—609 S. Main and 2882 Hwy. K—failed to make franchise payments. The monthly payments, which are a percentage of the restaurant's gross sales, cover advertising, promotions and the "use of the Burger King System and the BK Marks."
Those marks include the Burger King and Whopper names as well as logos, symbols and slogans.
Burger King Corporate notified the restaurants of their breach of agreement on Oct. 24, 2012 and ended the franchise agreements with the two locations on Jan. 25, 2013.
Terminated franchisees are prohibited from identifying themselves as either a current or former Burger King franchise, the lawsuit states, and must remove and return all Burger King signs, logos, menu boards, posters, uniforms, plates, cups, tray liners and other items bearing the Burger King name.
BKC is seeking an injunction against the two franchises to prevent them from "leading the public to believe that the restaurants are in any manner connected with BKC."
BKC is seeking damages for trademark infringement as well as punitive damages and costs.
Patch attempted to contact Burger King Corporate about the status of the lawsuit and received the following statement:
"Burger King Corp. does not comment on pending litigation, however, it is unlikely that the BURGER KING® restaurants will close."
The other Burger King locations included in the lawsuit are in Jefferson City, Moberly and Columbia.