KENNEBUNK — A federal court has denied a request made by the Toddle Inn day care franchise, which sought a restraining order that would have required a competitor to close its doors.

In a complaint filed on behalf of Toddle Inn Franchising in federal court on July 31, attorneys Timothy Bryant and Benjamin Piper alleged that KPJ Associates violated a contract with Toddler Inn and asked a judge to order the close of its day care, Kennebunk Children’s Academy.

The attorneys said KPJ Associates wrote a letter to Toddle Inn President Cheryl Carrier on July 27 stating that it was closing its Toddle Inn day care center at 8 Independence Drive and operating a new day care center at the same location on July 30.

The complaint alleged that the decision violated post-termination provisions of the franchise agreement that prohibits operating a competing day care center at the same location within two years of closing a Toddle Inn day care center.

Bryant and Piper wrote that KPJ Associates further violated the contract by using a customized Toddle Inn floor plan and furniture at its new day care center and also by employing former Toddle Inn staff who were trained in the Toddle Inn system. The lawyers also said parents were informed that Kennebunk facility would keep all the same policies in place and the only change would be the name.

A U.S. District Court judge, however, ruled on Aug. 2 that the franchise agreement had expired in July 2016 and there was insufficient evidence that any Toddle Inn systems had been misappropriated, according to Nate Levesque, spokesman for law firm Eaton Peabody.

The court also ruled that Toddle Inn’s request for the court to close the Kennebunk Children’s Academy would likely disrupt child care arrangements for many families who used the new center, according to Levesque.

“Having previously been in the Toddle Inn system, my mission with Kennebunk Children’s Academy is to create a day care center that is very different from the Toddle Inn,” said Kennebunk Children’s Academy owner Kathie Murphy in a written statement. “Our core mission is the children and their families. It begins and ends with them.”

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