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Papa John Schnatter Wins Major Ruling, Lawsuit Against Ad Firm to Proceed

Federal District Court denies Motion to Dismiss by Wasserman Media and its ad firm

LOUISVILLE, Ky., Sept. 22, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- A major ruling in the lawsuit by John Schnatter, the founder and former Chairman and CEO of PAPA John's International (PZZA), against Wasserman Media – founded by media mogul Casey Wasserman – and its ad firm Laundry Service, will allow the lawsuit to proceed. The ruling against Wasserman Media's Motion to Dismiss was issued by the Honorable Benjamin Beaton in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Kentucky at Louisville on September 21, 2022.

"I want to thank Judge Beaton for his thoughtful consideration of our arguments in the hearing Wednesday," said John Schnatter. "Over the past 33 months, we have produced a mountain of evidence that proves Wasserman Media, Laundry Service, and the company CEO Casey Wasserman maliciously set me up, falsely characterized private comments I made against racism when they leaked them to the media, and attempted to extort $6 million from Papa John's with Wasserman's threat that he would, if not paid, 'bury your founder.'"

The case, filed in December 2019, revolves around Mr. Schnatter's claim that he was targeted by the Defendants, which then leaked secretly-recorded private comments by Mr. Schnatter to the media – out of context to reverse their meaning – maliciously harming him and the company brand. Defendants' actions resulted in a hasty and harmful reaction by the Papa John's board of directors, forcing Mr. Schnatter out of the company he founded 34 years earlier, according to the complaint by Schnatter. Among the many things uncovered in discovery is a July 2018 email from Casey Wasserman to NBA Commissioner Adam Silver bragging about having the secret tape recording of the conference call between Laundry Service and John Schnatter. "Imagine if he knew I have a recording of the call…," Wasserman gloated.

While Judge Beaton issued several other rulings in the case Wednesday, the most significant was the one allowing the litigation to proceed, giving Mr. Schnatter the opportunity to reveal the massive evidence against the Defendants as the case proceeds before the Court.

"As a result of the discovery in the case, we have been able to establish that Wasserman Media's ad firm Laundry Service had a contractual obligation to protect Mr. Schnatter and the Papa John's brand and they did the exact opposite when they set up Mr. Schnatter as revealed on their secret audio recording," said lead counsel for Mr. Schnatter, Dennis Murrell of Middleton Reutlinger. "Following this ruling on the Motion to Dismiss, we look forward to advancing our case before the Court and delivering justice to Mr. Schnatter."

For more information on John H. Schnatter v 247 Group, LLC d/b/a Laundry Service, and Wasserman Media Group, LLC and to access the audio recording of the conference call, the transcript from the call, and other highlights, go to: papajohnschnatter.com/schnatter-v-wasserman-media.

Reference: Civil Action No. 3:20-cv-000003-CHBCHL

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SOURCE John Schnatter