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Planet Fitness Nears Lawsuit Settlement

The owners of Planet Fitness, Newington, NH, are close to reaching a settlement in their lawsuit with their New York franchisee partners in PFNY LLC.

According to a joint motion filed May 31 in U.S. District Court in New Hampshire, the two parties engaged in mediation on May 24 and 25 before a retired judge and reached an agreement that they will resolve their issues.

All proceedings in the case were put on hold for a 45-day period, including a hearing that was scheduled for Wednesday. Over the course of the month, the parties and their attorneys will be working to resolve their disputes, and afterward, they anticipate filing a notice of settlement, according to the court filing.

Both sides declined to comment on the status of the case.

Planet Fitness owners Mike Grondahl, Marc Grondahl and Chris Rondeau filed a lawsuit last December against franchisees James Innocenti, Jeffery Innocenti and Luigi “Gino” LaVerghetta, claiming the franchisees conducted business with real-estate companies and a contractor without the knowledge of the Grondahls and Rondeau. The Innocentis and LaVerghetta deny the allegations and filed a countersuit in January.

Court documents revealed that Planet Fitness had had discussions with the Innocentis and LaVerghetta about taking the company public with an initial public offering (IPO). Planet Fitness later confirmed that an IPO was discussed, but it tabled those plans until it resolved its issues with its PFNY partners. The New York Post reported today that Planet Fitness is seeking to hire bankers in hopes of going public.

In other news, Planet Fitness confirmed to Club Industry that CFO Jayne Conway is no longer with the company. Conway was hired in April 2010 from Gulf Oil LP. She also held leadership roles at Dunkin Brands, Bain and General Electric for 10 years. Marc Grondahl has assumed the duties of the CFO, a position he held prior to Conway’s arrival.

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