LEGO Franchisee Takes Fight to Court


JACKSONVILLE (CN) - A mother claims in court that she is not violating a Bricks for Kidz franchise agreement by using LEGO-based activities in her other child-oriented businesses.
     Kristena Bins-Turner and her companies, Back and 4th LLC and Creative Brick Builders LLC, sued BFK Franchise Company LLC in Federal Court, seeking declaratory relief.
     BFK offers project-based instruction with LEGO plastic bricks to teach kids engineering skills, according to the complaint.
     Bins-Turner, a mother of a special-needs child, says she first looked into BFK to develop her son's collaboration and social skills, and eventually her Back and 4th LLC company owned five franchise territories.
     However, after Bins-Turner started her other company, Creative Brick Builders, which is geared toward "free play" activities with LEGOs, she claims BFK called it a competing business and threatened to terminate her franchises.
     "This demand that Bin-Turner cease the conduct of a business merely because it involves children and LEGO bricks is outrageous, and far outreaches BFK's rights under its franchise agreement," the complaint states.
     Bins-Turner claims Creative Brick Builders does not compete with BFK, as it does not offer project-based programs that teach engineering skills using LEGOs.
     BFK refuses to negotiate or discuss Bin-Turner's alleged default, according to the complaint.
     Bin-Tuner says if BFK terminates her agreements, she has almost 1,000 kids signed up for her BFK summer camps and field trips who will be displaced.
     Bins-Turner seeks an injunction to prohibit BFK from terminating the franchise agreements.
     Her lead counsel is Tyler Oldenburg with Marks Gray.