Defendant's Attorney: Mark W. Batten and Michael H. Darling
Description: Lawrence, Massachusetts personal injury lawyer represented Plaintiff, who sued Defendants on fraud and negligence representation theories.
A jury in the Superior Court returned a verdict in favor of the plaintiff, Jayne Conway, and awarded her over $5 million in damages after finding that the defendants, Planet Fitness Holdings, LLC, Pla-Fit Franchise, LLC (together, Planet Fitness or the company), and various officers and directors of the company, had committed fraud and made negligent representations that induced her to settle a claim of wrongful termination. The case was decided under New Hampshire law pursuant to a choice of law provision contained in the parties' separation and settlement agreement (settlement agreement). The judge subsequently awarded interest on the judgment in accordance with New Hampshire law instead of in accordance with Massachusetts law as Conway had requested. Conway appeals and claims that the judge incorrectly calculated the award of prejudgment interest by applying New Hampshire law.
In addition, one defendant, Michael Grondahl (Grondahl), a part owner and chief executive officer of Planet Fitness at the time of the events in question, filed a cross appeal challenging the jury's award of damages and certain rulings made by the judge posttrial.
Under Massachusetts law, "an award of prejudgment interest is a substantive remedy." Militello v. Ann & Grace, Inc., 411 Mass. 22, 26 n.4 (1991). " ;Massachusetts generally follows a functional approach to resolving choice of law questions on substantive matters, eschewing reliance on any particular choice-of-law doctrine. . . . Though we do not tie our analysis to any single doctrine, examination of our cases reveals that we often find useful guidance in the Restatement (Second) of Conflict of Laws." (Citations omitted.) Lou v. Otis Elevator Co., 77 Mass.App.Ct. 571, 583-584 (2010).
Conway v. Planet Fitness Holdings, LLC (Mass. App. 2022)
Outcome: Affirmed in part and reversed in part.