The Infamous Video of Mice in an East Boston Dunkin’ Has Led to a Lawsuit
Dunks is not happy with how its franchisee handled the apparent infestation.
Turns out Dunkin’ is very unhappy with all the attention an apparent mouse problem at one of its locations in East Boston has gotten over the past week. So now it’s suing.
UniversalHub obtained documents over the weekend that show the coffee chain has filed suit to force the owner of the Maverick Square Dunkin’ to close the location, a move that came after a widely shared (and hilariously narrated) video of a small army of mice popped up on Facebook last week.
Peter Wild, who posted a pair of short clips online, says he just happened to be looking through the window of the shop the night of Monday, November 18, when he spotted at least a half-dozen rodents scurrying around the floor. The video became an instant classic thanks to Wild’s funny narration, and one assumes, caused a disaster scenario for Dunks, which understandably did not want its brand associated with the critters.
According to the suit filed on Friday, Dunkin’ accused the Maverick franchisee of “flagrantly violating Dunkin’s operational standards relating to health, food safety, and sanitation” at the Maverick location, and linked directly to a WCVB story. The station was the first to broadcast the footage. The suit names the entity that owns the shop, RMG Donuts LLC, as well as the LLC’s owners, Ralph F. D’Alelio, Gary J. D’Alelio, and Michele J. Lawlor.
After Dunkin’ saw the now-viral video with all the mice, it sent representatives to the shop to investigate, and shut it down after discovering “evidence of rodents, fruit flies, cockroaches, and unapproved pest management systems,” the suit alleges. Dunkin’ also faults the owner for causing “wide-spread negative media coverage” as a result of the mouse issue.
On November 20, the company delivered a “notice of default” to the shop, demanding that the various issues be taken care of within 24 hours, per terms laid out in a franchise agreement. But when Dunkin’ reps returned a full day later, it found the problems had not been addressed to its satisfaction and ordered it to close for good. Nevertheless, the suit claims, the franchisee “continued to operate the shop using the Dunkin’ system and Dunkin’s marks without having any right or license to do so.”
It’s now asking a court to intervene to keep the shop closed, and force it to remove any signage affiliating the shop with the Dunkin’ brand, as well as monetary damages.
The D’Alelio Management Company, which says on its website that it runs the Maverick shop along with 17 other Dunkin’ locations, did not immediately return requests for comment.