Annie Cosby Oct. 20, 2014, 10:33am

A group of 7-Eleven franchisees is suing over claims a franchise owner association defamed them.

Bruce Maples, Joseph Rossi, James Bayci, Robert Strauss, Morris Greenstein, Rick Boone, and Gary Loughridge filed a lawsuit Oct. 7 in Cook County Circuit Court against Ken Patel, Hashim Syed, Liaqat Ali, Nizar Ladhani and Jas Dhillon.

According to the suit, in February, the memberships of plaintiffs Rossi, Bayci, Strauss, Greenstein, Boone and Loughridge in the 7-Eleven Wiliana Franchise Owner Association (FOAC) were terminated, spurring them to join an Illinois, Michigan and Indiana association (MWFOA) founded by Maples, the former chairman of the national coalition.

In March, the complaint states, defendants Patel, Syed, Ali and Ladhani, who are current members and officers of the FOAC, issued false statements to their members accusing the plaintiffs of greed, bribery and violating franchise community bylaws.

The plaintiffs also claim Dhillon, the current vice chairman of the national coalition, falsely stated in the FOAC's newsletter that Maples spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on something he had no intention of pursuing.

The suit accuses the defendants of defamation (libel), placing plaintiffs in false light and violating the Uniform Deceptive Trade Practices Act.

The plaintiffs are seeking damages, court costs and an injunction to keep the defendants from violating the Uniform Deceptive Trade Practices Act. They are represented by attorney Stuart J. Chanen of Valorem Law Group in Chicago.

Cook County Circuit Court case number: 2014L010436.

This is a report on a civil lawsuit filed in Cook County Circuit Court. The details in this report come from an original complaint filed by a plaintiff. Please note, a complaint represents an accusation by a private individual, not the government. It is not an indication of guilt and it only represents one side of the story.

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