The owner of the Boombozz pizza restaurant brand is suing the franchisees who operated locations in Westfield and Fishers for using trade secrets and breaching contract agreements in opening Crafters Pizza and Drafthouse in the former Westfield Boombozz location.
Louisville-based TBB America, which franchised the Boombozz concept in 2008, filed the lawsuit Feb. 9 in federal court against Naptown Pizzerias, LLC and its owner, Michael Hall; NTPCC, LLC; and Brian Hall, an operating partner in the Westfield store, which has a Carmel address. The Westfield location opened in 2012, followed by the restaurant in Fishers in 2016.
The complaint states that in 2016, after TBB declined an offer from House and Hall to purchase the company, “the relationship between the parties began to deteriorate.” It states that the defendants began disregarding instructions from TBB, including an order to stop unauthorized use of NFL trademarks and participating in the Pizza Pizzazz Competition in February 2020 without approval.
The relationship worsened, and the two sides began negotiating terms to terminate the franchise agreements and wind down operation of the Westfield and Fishers restaurants.
“It was Defendants’ intent to stall in those negotiations so that they could make plans behind the scenes to open up a restaurant that would compete directly against Boombozz using Boombozz confidential and proprietary intellectual property,” the complaint states.
The Fishers restaurant closed in November 2020 with the Westfield location following suit the next month. Approximately a week later, Crafters Pizza and Drafthouse opened in the former Westfield Boombozz site.
The complaint states that Crafters sells pizzas and other menu items that are substantially similar to those offered by Boombozz and that the former franchisees would not have known how to create without knowing the Boombozz recipes and cooking methods.
“With Crafters, Defendants are doing nothing more than operating a Boombozz under a different name,” the complaint states.
It also states that the restaurant’s style and decor are similar to Boombozz and likely to cause confusion about the relationship between the restaurants.
Josh Brown, an attorney representing the defendants, provided a statement on behalf of his clients.
“There are two sides to every story, and my clients will be vigorously defending against these allegations and plan to pursue all of our legal options through the court system both in this matter that is presently in federal court and the other related matter that is in Floyd County and regards allegations of fraud, negligent misrepresentation, violations of the Indiana Franchise Act and Indiana Deceptive Franchise Practices Act, and other such claims asserted against TBB America, LLC EAB Concepts, Inc. and Mr. Tony Palombino (TBB founder).”
TBB is asking the court to order the defendants to cease affiliation and involvement with any restaurant through Jan. 7, 2023, as it believes doing so violates a non-compete agreement the defendants signed as Boombozz franchise owners.