Munich/Ingolstadt – Sensational decision worth millions!
The Fast food-Giant MC Donalds Princess Carla of Hesse (49) has to pay 14.2 million euros after a long legal dispute.
On Wednesday evening, a settlement was reached in an appeal process before the Munich Higher Regional Court. After a bitter battle that lasted three and a half years for four McDonald’s branches in Ingolstadt.
Background: Carla von Hesse’s ex-husband, Prince Otto von Hesse (†55), ran the restaurants with her for over 35 years.
When Prince Otto tragically died in a motorcycle accident in May 2020, Princess Carla, his heiress, wanted to continue running the business – also for the benefit of their four children. But the US company took a stand, denied the princess’s suitability as a franchisee – and wanted to reassign the branches.
Curious: Only cash payments went to the princess – McDonald’s received card payments from customers
The princess didn’t let this sit, fought and went to court – with success!
The princess continued to run the fast food giant’s restaurants on a temporary basis, but not all of the income went into her pocket. On Wednesday, the princess met the fast food chain’s lawyers for a showdown before the Higher Regional Court in Munich.
The court only had to decide whether the termination of the contract at the time of the prince’s death in May 2020 was lawful. But in the negotiation – at the urging of the presiding judge – a final agreement was reached.
McDonald’s will pay the mother of four a sum of eleven million euros by December 31, 2023! And the sales from card payments amounting to 3.2 million euros, which McDonald’s had transferred to escrow accounts and withheld.
To do this, the Princess must hand over the four restaurants in Ingolstadt, including their inventory, by December 31, 2023.
During the negotiation, both parties juggled large amounts of money, and there were several interruptions and discussions. Then at 5:30 p.m. the breakthrough!
► Princess Carla of Hesse initially demanded 12.7 million euros from the US company as compensation for the restaurants. She estimates the four Ingolstadt branches to be worth 9.9 million. In addition, she has had 2 million euros in costs in recent years – for example for electricity, suppliers, etc.
Meanwhile, only the cash proceeds from the business went to the princess. To this day, customers’ card payments end up in a McDonald’s escrow account. “There are 3.2 million euros in the account,” Princess Carla’s lawyer explained in court.
► The lawyers of the US company McDonald’s countered that the princess had not paid any franchise fees or rent since the middle of the year. A total of four million euros in outstanding payments have already accumulated.
The contracts ran until 2034 for the late prince. During the trial, the fast food lawyers increased the settlement offer to the princess from 8.2 million to over 10 million euros.
The endless legal dispute lasted a total of three and a half years. During this time, the princess also had to struggle with serious cancer and had to undergo several operations and chemotherapy.
In the first instance, the regional court dismissed their lawsuit. In the judgment of November 2021, it was “determined that the term of the franchise agreements, sublease agreements and all other associated agreements relating to the operation of the McDonald’s restaurants … concluded between the defendant and the deceased … ended on October 8, 2020” .
The termination is therefore effective. The presiding judge before the Higher Regional Court, Annette Neumair, indicated in the hearing on Wednesday that the court was of a similar opinion. However, the termination will be effective by January 2023 at the latest, explained the chairwoman.
The judge only gave in after clear, warning words to both parties. “It’s Christmas, it’s the time of wishes. But I advise both parties to compare themselves. It screams for it!”
This is how the gilded Christmas peace came about.