Trials over for UPS in cases related to Mail Boxes Etc. purchase

Barring any appeals, the trials related to UPS' acquisition of Mail Boxes Etc. came to an end this week for the Sandy Springs company with an order by a California judge.

The Sept. 27 order granting summary judgment to UPS and Mail Boxes Etc. rejected claims brought by Mail Boxes Etc. franchisees that the UPS Store's business model was flawed, UPS spokeswoman Susan Rosenberg said.

"The trial level is over," she said. "It was a victory for UPS."

Some cases are still working their way through the appellate process, but Rosenberg said three major lawsuits filed by various franchisees were all resolved in favor of UPS and Mail Boxes Etc.

This case was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court in 2003 by franchisees that operated Mail Boxes Etc. stores. UPS bought the chain in April 2001 for $190 million.

Denise Woodard, a representative for a class of nearly 3,000 plaintiffs, contended that the tests UPS used to determine whether the UPS Store would be a better business model for franchisees than the existing Mail Boxes Etc. centers were incomplete and inadequately conceived and implemented.

Also at issue in the case was the argument of 175 franchisees who did not convert their Mail Boxes Etc. stores to the UPS name immediately. They claimed the rebranding destroyed their business model, which was built around the Mail Boxes Etc. name.

Superior Court Judge William F. Highberger, who first ruled in July,  said in the order that the class "failed to carry their burden of providing evidence of damages."

An attorney for the class could not be reached for comment as to whether an appeal is planned.