Lawsuit Trouble on the In-n-Out Horizon

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GB944
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2006/01/07 17:53:01 (permalink)

Lawsuit Trouble on the In-n-Out Horizon

cut and paste from the LA Times website...

In-N-Out Lawsuit Exposes Family Rift
By Ronald D. White, Times Staff Writer

In-N-Out Burger Inc., the Irvine company known for its Double-Double and its customers' intense devotion, is embroiled in a family feud, according to a lawsuit.

Richard Boyd, In-N-Out's vice president and a board member, has accused 23-year-old heir Lynsi Martinez and others of trying to accelerate her takeover of the popular family-owned burger chain.

Boyd contends that Martinez and allied corporate executives have attempted to force out Esther L. Snyder, the family matriarch, company president and a board member, who is 86 and in poor health, according to a lawsuit filed Thursday in Los Angeles County Superior Court. Martinez is the only grandchild of Snyder, who opened the first drive-through In-N-Out stand in 1948 with husband Harry Snyder.

The lawsuit reads like a corporate soap opera in which Boyd, a longtime employee and co-trustee of nearly two-thirds of the privately held company's stock, is the lone impediment to an alleged attempt by Martinez to engineer a coup and install top management that would expand the chain too quickly. Boyd also accused Martinez, In-N-Out Vice President Mark Taylor and others of attempting to wrongly fire Boyd from In-N-Out and his trustee positions.

Taylor, described as the husband of Martinez's half sister, is accused in the suit of aggressively pushing the company into new markets "without regard to INO's ability to serve those markets."

In-N-Out General Counsel Arnold Wensinger said in a statement that the lawsuit "contains numerous false allegations and inaccuracies." Company executives are disappointed because "we believed we were working toward a mutually agreeable parting of the ways," he said.

Boyd, vice president of real estate and development, filed a similar lawsuit early last month. It was dismissed a few days later amid settlement talks. Although the two sides are actively involved in settlement negotiations, Boyd's attorney Philip Heller said, the lawsuit was refiled.

Martinez and Taylor couldn't be reached for comment.

In-N-Out has grown from a single drive-through in Baldwin Park to 202 restaurants in California, Arizona and Nevada. Harry Snyder died in 1976, and his son Richard took over. He died in a plane crash in 1993 and his older brother, Guy, became president. Guy died in 1999 from a painkiller overdose.

Through it all, Esther Snyder, a onetime bookkeeper, remained deeply involved in day-to-day operations. But in recent years company executives have "marginalized" Snyder, who told Boyd that they "only want me dead," according to the lawsuit.

In-N-Out's burgers, fries and milkshakes attract a cult-like following. When the company's first outlet in northern Nevada opened in 2004, customers waited 90 minutes to order from the simple 1950s-era menu.

Its celebrity customers include actress Mischa Barton, a star of Fox's "The OC," and Vince Young, quarterback of the NCAA champion University of Texas Longhorns. Young has claimed that many of his 233 pounds could be traced to In-N-Out, despite the fact that there are no In-N-Out restaurants anywhere near his native Houston.

Martinez, who owns almost 25% of the company's stock, would inherit about one-third of the remaining shares on her 25th birthday, according to the court papers. She would receive the rest in two blocks on her 30th and 35th birthdays.

Boyd's lawsuit portrays Martinez as unwilling to wait. In the alleged effort to force Boyd out, the court papers claim that In-N-Out employees were threatened "with adverse employment actions and criminal penalties if they refused to state that Boyd had engaged in criminal acts as the INO vice president of real estate and development."

The lawsuit also claims that vendors, suppliers and employees are forced "to perform work and improvements on the properties of Martinez, Taylor and their family members … at reduced compensation, without any compensation, or by having [In-N-Out] pay for the services and products used."

The lawsuit seeks unspecified monetary damages and to preserve the intent of the trusts.
#1

15 Replies Related Threads

    jeepguy
    Double Chili Cheeseburger
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    RE: Lawsuit Trouble on the In-n-Out Horizon 2006/01/07 19:49:41 (permalink)
    Sounds like a franchise to me.
    #2
    mayor al
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    RE: Lawsuit Trouble on the In-n-Out Horizon 2006/01/07 20:16:48 (permalink)

    Sounds like a real family feud to me. This is a case where the family that currently runs the place(s) has lost the vision of what the founder had in mind.
    Too Bad. I have always considered In N Out not only a good deal food-wise, but a decent place for my students (in that area) to work. Maybe the company will survive the squabble, but I doubt it.
    #3
    Jennifer_4
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    RE: Lawsuit Trouble on the In-n-Out Horizon 2006/01/07 20:18:34 (permalink)
    Well I think it's a shame. This WAS a family run company that treated its employees VERY well, and had faith in God as its base. Now some young greedy lo-rent upstart who probably is only in the family due to an unplanned pregnancy is trying to grab everything.
    #4
    roossy90
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    RE: Lawsuit Trouble on the In-n-Out Horizon 2006/01/07 21:22:53 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by Jennifer_4

    Well I think it's a shame. This WAS a family run company that treated its employees VERY well, and had faith in God as its base. Now some young greedy lo-rent upstart who probably is only in the family due to an unplanned pregnancy is trying to grab everything.


    Whoo Hoo..
    You know something we dont?...
    " />
    (LOL)
    #5
    mr chips
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    RE: Lawsuit Trouble on the In-n-Out Horizon 2006/01/08 02:41:30 (permalink)
    This does sound like the beginning of the end for IN N OUT's uniqueness.
    #6
    QFan
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    RE: Lawsuit Trouble on the In-n-Out Horizon 2006/01/08 10:33:11 (permalink)
    Oh well, should we be surprised? As usual it's all about the money, not quality or serving the customer. Sounds like the same route Fatburger has taken.

    QFan
    Bonita Springs, FL
    #7
    enginecapt
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    RE: Lawsuit Trouble on the In-n-Out Horizon 2006/01/08 23:24:52 (permalink)
    All hail Farmer Boy.
    #8
    mayor al
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    RE: Lawsuit Trouble on the In-n-Out Horizon 2006/01/09 07:49:22 (permalink)
    I agree, Jack. But Farmer Boys are expanding very quickly also. I get the feeling they are headed the same way??? Have you stopped at any of the newer (non-family operated) stores? I see they have two in Victorville now... Time for a quality check!
    #9
    Ashphalt
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    RE: Lawsuit Trouble on the In-n-Out Horizon 2006/01/09 15:12:36 (permalink)
    Anyone from S.E. New England who has noted any of the decade and a half long DeMoulas Market Basket family controversies will hail this as a great opportunity for the California bar to swell its ranks and coffers.

    Otherwise, as noted above, it looks like the beginning of the end for In 'N Out. Expect to see them at a food court near you soon, and expect their stock to be collectible wallcovering shortly after.
    #10
    ertyu
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    RE: Lawsuit Trouble on the In-n-Out Horizon 2006/06/30 01:28:53 (permalink)
    allright here is the latest news about the lawsuit
    there was a secretive settlement and in-n-out avoided a Oct. 17 2006 trial

    "In-N-Out failed in a recent hearing to block the videotaped deposition of Esther Snyder, whose testimony was imminent and considered critical to Boyd's Oct. 17 trial. Those events likely spurred this week's settlement, one expert said."

    http://www.tmcnet.com/usubmit/2006/05/12/1648468.htm
    #11
    Jimeats
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    RE: Lawsuit Trouble on the In-n-Out Horizon 2006/06/30 06:26:27 (permalink)
    Sounds like good news for all the In-N-Out fans out there. It's going to be business as useuall. What gets me though how dose a plasterer get to be V.P. of a business like this? Chow Jim
    #12
    Lucky Bishop
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    RE: Lawsuit Trouble on the In-n-Out Horizon 2006/07/01 13:23:26 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by Jennifer_4

    Well I think it's a shame. This WAS a family run company that treated its employees VERY well, and had faith in God as its base. Now some young greedy lo-rent upstart who probably is only in the family due to an unplanned pregnancy is trying to grab everything.


    Uh-huh. I'm just gonna guess that if her surname was "Martin," you wouldn't have said that. Classy.
    #13
    WVHillbilly
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    RE: Lawsuit Trouble on the In-n-Out Horizon 2006/07/01 14:38:07 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by Lucky Bishop

    quote:
    Originally posted by Jennifer_4

    Well I think it's a shame. This WAS a family run company that treated its employees VERY well, and had faith in God as its base. Now some young greedy lo-rent upstart who probably is only in the family due to an unplanned pregnancy is trying to grab everything.


    Uh-huh. I'm just gonna guess that if her surname was "Martin," you wouldn't have said that. Classy.


    Yea, that's a pretty f'ed up thing to say.
    "only in the family due to an unplanned pregnacy?!" Geez that would eliminate most of us from our families and half of my offspring!
    "lo-rent[sic]?" Heir to the InO fortune is a "lo-rent?" I can only imagine that you must be mega wealthy to make such an accusation and suspect that you would find my lifestyle and abode decrepidly low rent.
    Yea Bishop, sounds racist to me.
    #14
    MandalayVA
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    RE: Lawsuit Trouble on the In-n-Out Horizon 2006/07/02 03:10:17 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by Lucky Bishop

    quote:
    Originally posted by Jennifer_4

    Well I think it's a shame. This WAS a family run company that treated its employees VERY well, and had faith in God as its base. Now some young greedy lo-rent upstart who probably is only in the family due to an unplanned pregnancy is trying to grab everything.


    Uh-huh. I'm just gonna guess that if her surname was "Martin," you wouldn't have said that. Classy.


    Silly Bishop, God is for white people!

    /sarcasm
    #15
    Charity
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    RE: Lawsuit Trouble on the In-n-Out Horizon 2006/07/02 08:15:21 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by Jimeats

    Sounds like good news for all the In-N-Out fans out there. It's going to be business as useuall. What gets me though how dose a plasterer get to be V.P. of a business like this? Chow Jim


    By working there for 30 years and moving up through the ranks. I dare say there were a number of transitional steps along the way.

    I'm sure many of us wish we worked for a company that allowed us to grow into better positions, instead of being forced to job-hunt to get a chance to move up.
    #16
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