A Cobb County, Ga., judge has held that two rules the Atlanta Bread Co. cited to strip a franchisee of five restaurants were unenforceable and cleared the way for a trial on other issues that could cost the company $16 million.

Judge Dorothy A. Robinson of Cobb County Superior Court last month granted partial summary judgment to the ex-franchisee, Sean Lupton-Smith, who lost his franchises when he opened a PJ’s Coffee & Lounge at Georgia’s Atlantic Station. He won on claims that Atlanta Bread could not enforce rules prohibiting him from working in a “baker/deli business” or opening a similar venture within 20 miles of an Atlanta Bread Co. location.

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