STRATUS BUILDING SOLUTIONS Amended Petition Adds Master Franchisees to Lawsuit

Attorney Jonathan Fortman, on behalf of Stratus Building Solutions unit franchisees, has filed an Amended Class Action Petition for Declaratory Judgement to the Circuit Court of St. Louis County, State of Missouri.

The amended petition claims that the Stratus franchisor and it master franchisees deceptively sold janitorial franchises to individuals nationwide, that the defendants knew that they could not deliver the janitorial contracts promised to the franchisees, and that they engaged in “churning” of accounts in order to callously cheat the plaintiffs out of their life savings.

The amended petition names the specific regional Stratus Master franchisees for the first time, and asks the court recognize the class and to declare (among other things) that Stratus Franchising, LLC and Simpatico, Inc. “may be jointly liable to Plaintiffs and members of the putative class for conspiring to utilize Master Franchisees to commit fraud against Plaintiffs and the putative class.”

Are you familiar with the Stratus Building Solutions? Please share a your perspective below.

Scroll down for the full list of Stratus Plaintiffs, an excerpt from the petition, and a link to the full legal document.

Case Number: 12SL-CC00339

MARKEETA RIVERA, And GUADALUPE CLEMENTE,

Both for themselves and as representatives

Of a class of similarly situated others.

Plaintiffs,

-vs-

SIMPATICO, INC, Division: 13

And

STRATUS FRANCHISING, LLC,

And

PHSCCH SBS, LLC, (Serve: Agent: Channen Smith 9531 E Nora Circle

Mesa, AZ 85207) )

And

Stratus Building Solutions of Arizona, Inc.,

Goldeneye Holdings, Inc.,  d/b/a Stratus of Orange County [CA],

Mark Bashforth d/b/a Stratus Building Solutions of San Diego[CA],

Jayson Bashforth d/b/a Stratus Building Solutions of San Diego[CA],

Afshin Cangarlu, d/b/a Stratus of Los Angeles [CA],

Stratus Building Solutions of Northern California, LLC, d/b/a Stratus of Sacramento [CA],

Jim Parell d/b/a Stratus of Ventura County [CA],

Colorado Cleaning Partners, Inc, d/b/a Stratus Building Solutions of Southern Colorado [CO],

Channen Smith, d/b/a Stratus of Denver [CO],

Jitendra Kapur, d/b/a Stratus of Stamford and Westchester [CT],

Raynal Enterprises, Inc., d/b/a Stratus of Miami [FL],

Stratus Building Solutions of Tampa St. Pete, LLC, [FL],

Paladin Building Services, LLC, d/b/a Stratus of Jacksonville, [FL] [Jeffrey B. Aibel],

Paladin Building Services, LLC d/b/a Stratus of Atlanta [GA] (Serve: Agent: Jeffrey Aibel )

Kukamaehu, Inc., d/b/a Stratus of Honolulu, [HI],

Iowa Building Solutions, LLC, d/b/a Stratus of Iowa (Serve: Agent: Leonard R. Fazio ),

DPK Investments, Inc., d/b/a Stratus of Chicago [IL] )(Serve: Agent: Devang Kothari ),

Shamrock Building Services, Inc., d/b/a Stratus of Indianapolis [IN] (Serve: Agent: Kevin G. Spellacy )

Stratus Building Solutions of Kansas, LLC (Serve: Agent: Peter Frese )

Shamrock Building Services, LLC, d/b/a Stratus of Louisville, [MO],

Stratus Building Solutions of Lafayette, LLC [LA](Serve: Agent: S.D. Steckler )

Stratus Building Solutions of Minnesota (Serve: Agent: Kevin Spellacy or Lorena Aristizabal),

TTK Investments, Inc., d/b/a Stratus of Concord, [NC] (Serve: Agent: Ernest Kraft ),

TTK Investments, Inc., d/b/a Stratus of the Triad [NC] (Serve: Agent: Ernest Kraft ),

TTK Investments, Inc., d/b/a Stratus of Charlotte [NC] (Serve: Agent: Ernest Kraft ),

Stratus Building Solutions of Omaha [NE],

Stratus Building Solutions of Nebraska (Serve: Agent: Channen Smith ),

Joy Community Development Corporation d/b/a Stratus Building Solutions of Central New Jersey, (Serve: c/o D’Andre Salter ),

Stratus Building Solutions of Long Island, Inc [NY] (Serve: Agent: Richard M. Baran ),

Impressive Cleaning Solutions, Inc., d/b/a Stratus of Buffalo [NY] (Serve: Agent: Kenneth A. Casseri),

MARRS, LLC d/b/a Stratus Building Solutions of Cincinnati [OH] (Serve: Agent: Mark Stocker )

Stratus Building Solutions of Oregon, Inc., (Serve: Agent: Jon A. White ),

Z3 Enterprises, LLC, d/b/a Stratus Building Solutions of Pittsburgh [PA],

HolBon Holdings, LLC, d/b/a Stratus Building Solutions of Philadelphia  [PA],

TTK Investments, Inc., d/b/a Stratus of Columbia [SC] (Serve: Agent: Ernest Kraft ),

Kevin Gass, d/b/a Stratus of Columbia, [SC],

Ralph Sizemore d/b/a Stratus of Upstate Carolina, [SC],

D&E Holdings, LLC d/b/a Stratus Building Solutions of Nashville [TN],

Stratus Building Solutions of Northern Utah (Serve: Agent: Lori Sealy),

SYDDAR, Inc. d/b/a Stratus Building Solutions of Salt Lake [UT] (Serve: Agent: Shauna Sharpsteen ),

Afshin Cangarlu, d/b/a Stratus of Inland Empire, [CA],

J. Beck, d/b/a Stratus Building Solutions of Wilmington [DE],

Jason Potts, d/b/a Stratus of Raleigh [NC],

Don Gartner, d/b/a Stratus of Northern New Jersey,

Rob Salazar, d/b/a Stratus of Albuquerque [NM],

Quail Run Enterprises, Inc., d/b/a Stratus Building Solutions of Las Vegas [NV] (Serve: Agent: Tamara Kyllo ),

Craig Donovan, d/b/a Stratus Building Solutions of WNY, [NY],

Mark Bashforth, d/b/a Stratus Building Solutions of Houston [TX],

Jayson Bashforth, d/b/a Stratus Building Solutions of Houston [TX],

Jacquelyn Mosley d/b/a Stratus of Northern Texas,

Thomas Mosley, d/b/a Stratus of Northern Texas,

Greg Fishman, d/b/a Stratus of Austin [TX],

Cordell Dean, d/b/a Stratus of Richmond [VA],

Defendants.

HERE IS AN EXCERPT FROM THE STRATUS PETITION:

DECLARATORY JUDGMENT

1. This class action seeks declaration of liability on behalf of all persons who purchased franchises through Master Franchisees of Defendants in the United States of America.

2. This action arises from Defendants utilizing Master Franchisees as their agents to:

(a) fraudulently induce Plaintiffs to enter into franchise agreements by failing to disclose all costs associated with the franchise;

(b) fraudulently withhold the identities of all franchisees who had there franchises terminated;

(c) violate the disclosure requirements of the Federal Trade Commission;

(d) provide fraudulent earnings claims to the class without proper documentation; and

(e) prevent potential franchisees from learning the turnover rate of its franchises.

3. Plaintiffs allege that Defendants, through the Master Franchisees, engaged in “churning” in which the franchisor cancels the franchise agreement or accounts of the Unit Franchisee without just cause, making the conditions for accepting accounts or servicing accounts so untenable that the Unit Franchisee will decline or abandon an account. These actions are taken by Defendants for the sole purpose of providing accounts to new Unit Franchisees thus obtaining more initial franchise fees.

4. Plaintiffs allege that Defendants were aware that the Stratus system first implemented by Defendant Simpatico was fatally flawed in that the limited number of available accounts and the competition in the market required the franchisor to continue selling Unit Franchises even though there were not enough accounts to permit the Franchisor to comply with its obligations under the various Franchise Agreements.

5. As a direct and proximate result of the actions of Defendants, both directly and through its Master Franchisees, many of the Unit Franchisees lost their life savings.

6. Plaintiffs further allege that Defendants have improperly misclassified the Plaintiffs as independent contractors, and thereby denied them various benefits to which they are entitled to as employees under the wage laws, including minimum wage, overtime pay, other wage protections, and other benefits of employment, such as eligibility for unemployment and workers compensation.

7. Plaintiffs’ right to declaratory relief stems from Missouri Revised Statute Section 527.010, et al., and Rule 87 of the Missouri Rule of Civil Procedure.

8. Plaintiffs and the putative class are in a position of uncertainty as to the enforceability of the Master Franchise Agreement and whether the Master Franchisees are independent contractors or agents of Defendants for purposes of vicarious liability.

9. Plaintiffs and the putative class have an immediate personal interest in having this adjudicated in such manner because the Master Franchise Agreements require application of Missouri law and this Court is best suited to determine the nature of the relationship between Defendants and the Master Franchisees.

10. As a matter of judicial economy, and in the interest of uniform application of Missouri law, this Court should determine the status of the relationship to avoid having other state and federal courts apply Missouri law. Otherwise, there is a potential for conflicting decisions of foreign state and federal courts applying Missouri law.

11. Plaintiffs and the putative class members lack an adequate remedy at law.

12. Plaintiffs are entitled to an attorney’s fees for under the Missouri Declaratory Judgment Act, as the circumstances surrounding the filing and prosecuting of such Petition constitute “unusual circumstances” justifying an award of attorney’s fees.

13. The questions posed by Plaintiffs are ripe for judicial resolution, as all Plaintiffs, Defendants and interested third parties are represented in this action.

WHEREFORE, Plaintiffs pray this Court enter an Order and Declaratory Judgment, ordering:

a. Certification of a class of individuals who are identified as those who have purchased a franchise from the Defendants through Master Franchisees.

b. That an Order/Judgment issue declaring that Defendant Stratus is the principal of the Master Franchisee for purposes of vicarious liability under the laws of the State of Missouri and/or that Defendants may be jointly liable to Plaintiffs and members of the putative class for conspiring to utilize Master Franchisees to commit fraud against Plaintiffs and the putative class.

c. Order that Notice be disseminated to individual class members pursuant to Missouri law

d. any and all other relief as the Court deems just and proper.

Respectfully submitted,

LAW OFFICE OF JONATHAN E. FORTMAN, LLC

READ THE FULL PETITION:

Rivera v Simpatico – Amended Petition – Declaratory Judgment final

Related reading:

STRATUS BUILDING SOLUTIONS Franchise Complaints

STRATUS Franchise: Are Stratus Master Franchisees Jumping Ship?

STRATUS BUILDING SOLUTIONS Franchise Class Action Lawsuit Filed

STRATUS BUILDING SOLUTIONS: Markeeta Rivera’s Franchise Horror Story

STRATUS BUILDING SOLUTIONS Franchise: Guadalupe Clemente’s Horror Story

ARE YOU FAMILIAR WITH STRATUS BUILDING SOLUTIONS AND ITS MASTER FRANCHISEES? PLEASE SHARE A COMMENT BELOW.

Contact UnhappyFranchisee.com

8 thoughts on “STRATUS BUILDING SOLUTIONS Amended Petition Adds Master Franchisees to Lawsuit

  • August 8, 2012 at 3:27 pm
    Permalink

    I am also a franchise owner and the last thing they are doing here in georgia is sending docu- sign sending documents accepting accounts electronically that you do not even know how they look like how big they are and offering a 150 dollars per month or a maximum of 250 they are trying to put this on document that are offering accounts so after they can say they offer accounts and we did not accept them, they just offered me an account for 150 dollars a month and I have to drive 62 miles from where I live I am loosing $40,000 with them

  • August 29, 2012 at 6:04 pm
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    Jacquelyn Mosley and Thomas Mosley, d/b/a Stratus of Northern Texas sold me a 15,000 franchise and the run away if someone knows how can I get in touch with them please let me know.
    The might still other people’s money as well

  • August 31, 2013 at 7:09 am
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    @Viewers, You are probably wondering why I am posting in so many different Stratus Building Solutions Post Sites? Primary reason is because different one’s have added meaning to my posting….In keeping with the “theme of the day” let’s ask a simple question: “Where in the World is Carmen Garcia”?

    Now, some of you might wonder exactly who Carmen Garcia was/is/continues to be and why she is “missing”?

    Carmen Garcia had a general tile of “Franchise Development and Support”. Her primary job was to implement and directly oversee the Computer Software Management Program known as BOSS….Now you ask why is this important:

    Well, let’s talk about all of the information that gets loaded into BOSS by the various Masters:

    Unit Franchisee Information complete with Cash/Check Payment, Address, Phone Number, Accounts Accepted/Declined, Account Active/In-Active, Account Payments made etc…

    Customer Information complete with contract start/finish, billing information, contact information, customer location and Unit Franchisee History Report

    Sales/Marketing Numbers including T/M report, Bid/Sales Information, Proposal Generation Information etc…

    Operations Numbers including Account Retention, Inspection Reports, Offering/Declining Information, Customer Contact Results etc…

    Now, even though each individual Master may/may not have joined the BOSS system, all that information was accessible by Pete Frese, Dennis Jarrett, the local Master, Marvin Ashton and Carmen Garcia….You say, “why does that matter”?

    Well in at least one court case, DJ and Pete Frese DENIED having any/all of the above information!!!!!

    At least one former Master claims in court records that DJ/Pete and/or Carmen Garcia RELEASED that information to the former Master’s competitors in order to Harm and cause additional problems for that Master as direct retribution for that Master leaving the system!!!!!!!

    So in a Nutshell, NO ONE seems to know where DJ’s main West Coast Squeeze, Carmen Garcia is, that NO ONE in the Stratus Franchising, LLC management is aware of the information stored on BOSS exists (direct violation of court rules) and NO ONE knows anything about well, ANYTHING….

    With partners like these, who really does need Enemies!!!!!!!

  • September 4, 2013 at 5:59 am
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    @all, the following is a list of Masters that are no longer part of the Stratus System as of 2012:

    Buffalo
    Rochester
    CT
    Raleigh/Durham
    Charlotte
    Atlanta
    Jacksonville
    Miami
    North Texas- Bankrupt
    Ventura County, California
    Orange County, California- Sued Stratus Franchising
    Oregon- Sued Stratus Franchising to Leave
    Chicago- Bankrupt
    Indianapolis- Bankrupt
    MN- Bankrupt
    Louisville/Lexington
    Salt Lake City, Utah

    Now despite all of the above Masters leaving the system, DJ quoted in the St. Louis Business Journal on March, 2013 claimed sales were only down 4%!!!! He blamed the CUSTOMERS even for the 4% Loss!!!!!!! Not himself, Not the Masters Leaving the system because of his/Pete’s Fraudulent Statements, False Performa’s, Fraudulent Inducements etc….But the Customers? And there are some of you wondering why I (reasoned source) seem to think that DJ might be a little delusional?

    So, let’s see, a basic run down of size that I know of for the above and let’s see if it is greater than 4 Million dollars as 4% of 100 million is $4,000,000.00

    Buffalo- 5 million
    Rochester- 500k
    CT- 300k
    Raleigh/Durham- 1.5 million
    Charlotte- 1.2 million
    Atlanta- 2.2 million
    Jacksonville- 350k
    Miami- 600k
    North Texas- 1.2 million
    Ventura County- 1 million
    Oregon- 1 million
    Indianapolis- 2.6 million
    Chicago 300k
    MN- 60k
    Louisville/Lexington- 300k
    Salt Lake City- 600k

    HMM, Looks more like 19 million plus happen to have left the system without too much counting…. This of course is only the R/S and S/S sales, this doesn’t include franchise cash, notes etc…..So You add all of that into the system and I bet without too much problem at all, there is at least 25 million that walked!!!!!

    Why would DJ continue to lie? Of course, it is in his DNA and I fully understand that, but Why? Did the Poodles instruct him to Lie? More on that later!!!!!!

  • January 28, 2014 at 5:33 pm
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    es un racista juega con las cuentas de la gente hasta donde quiere pues no tiene suficientes cuentas y quiere dinero y dinero , nunca vengas comprar a tampa porque jeff es un loco estafador

    is a racist playing with scores of people to where you want it does not have enough money and accounts and want money, you never come to tampa buy because jeff is a crazy scammer

  • September 5, 2014 at 6:07 pm
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    I would like to be added to the Florida class action lawsuit. I am an owner who has numerous complaints ..you don’t even want to hear my story… you shouldn’t buy a franchise from them ever!

  • September 5, 2014 at 6:08 pm
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    take the money and run!that’s the name of the game… you work for free

  • April 21, 2015 at 6:45 pm
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    This company was a scam from the very beginning. I knew Pete and DJ were headed for trouble when I met with them in the St. Louis Office.

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