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Schnatter, Papa John’s argue over confidentiality in latest lawsuit hearing

Confidentiality was the focus Tuesday of a federal court hearing in the lawsuit Papa John’s...
Confidentiality was the focus Tuesday of a federal court hearing in the lawsuit Papa John’s founder John Schnatter (seen above in file photo) has filed against the company’s former ad agency. (Source: WAVE 3 News)
Updated: Jun. 22, 2021 at 5:08 PM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Confidentiality was the focus Tuesday of a federal court hearing in the lawsuit Papa John’s founder John Schnatter has filed against the company’s former ad agency.

Schnatter claims that 247 Group, doing business as Laundry Service, breached a contract by allegedly leaking a recording of the 2018 conference call that ultimately led to Schnatter’s downfall.

Papa John’s, which is not directly involved in the lawsuit, wants a blanket confidentiality agreement before handing over subpoenaed documents.

247 says it can’t agree to that without knowing what’s in the documents.

Papa John’s fears Schnatter, who founded the global pizza chain in Jeffersonville, Ind., in 1984, will post sensitive information on social media or his personal website, as he did with the recording of that conference call.

Over the past couple of years, Schnatter has given interviews that the company claims have included false allegations that could damage Papa John’s.

“During these interviews, Mr. Schnatter has repeatedly asserted, without any evidence, that Papa John’s and several of his directors and officers, all of whom he has named specifically, and repeatedly, were part of this conspiracy to oust him,” an attorney for Papa John’s said Tuesday.

Schnatter released a comment on the lawsuit Tuesday evening:

Papa John’s has dragged its feet for months trying to prevent the court from seeing 13,000 documents subpoenaed by Wasserman Media as a part of our litigation. The most troubling thing about it is that this continues a consistent pattern of cover-up by the company since the false attacks against me in 2018.

In 2019, Papa John’s lost a 220 ruling in a Delaware court, but produced a sparse number of relevant documents following that court order, and now they’re fighting tooth-and-nail to prevent disclosures that may reveal the truth about who did what to try to damage me and the company brand.

Why would Papa John’s try so hard to hide these documents from public view? Could it be that they’re hiding something about their possible role in the set-up by our former ad firm, Wasserman Media company ‘Laundry Service,’ when my comments against racism were secretly taped and their meaning was reversed and leaked to the media.

With all the revelations in our litigation, the actions by Laundry Service and Papa John’s won’t stand the light of day. We have the tape which fully exonerates me, and with further revelations, we will know the full truth about Papa John’s likely role in this injustice that hurt so many people, including our franchisees and employees.

The judge suggested both sides work out some type of language in an agreement, saying the documents would only be used for the court case.

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