Dozens of new franchise owners are suing Knoxville-based Premier Martial Arts in federal court, claiming the company defrauded them for years.“Our school opened right in the middle of COVID,” one owner said. “Everyone told us it would be easy to get started and make money.” According to her after spending at least $250,000 just to open their Premier Martial Arts school, it’s been nothing but stress. “We were told it would be about $150,000,” she said. “We did our due diligence, only to find out about 18 months later that none of it was real.” more than 50 other franchise owners are joining the lawsuit claiming Premier lied by telling them a franchise could operate by just putting in 10 hours a week or so. Over 50 franchisees have accused Knoxville, Tennessee-based Premier Franchising Group LLC, which does business as Premier Martial Arts, or PMA, of violating the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, fraudulent inducement and breach of contract.
Unleashed Brands Chief Legal Officer Stephen Polozola said that “Premier Franchising Group disputes the claims asserted by this small subset of franchisees.” He declined to comment further on the pending litigation.
The franchisees’ attorney, John Jacobson of Riley & Jacobson, did not respond to a request for comment on Tuesday.