Pizza Huts around La. closed over lawsuit

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - The operator of 44 Pizza Hut franchise restaurants in the New Orleans and Baton Rouge areas says they will remain closed while as he fights Pizza Hut Inc. in court.

The Pizza Hut corporation filed a federal lawsuit in Texas against Larry Lundy and Lundy Enterprises, claiming they failed to pay royalty and advertising fees on time.

The lawsuit says there was an attempt to settle the dispute with a sale of Lundy assets to Pizza Hut, but that didn't work out and Lundy lost the right to operate the Pizza Hut restaurants as of Sunday.

Lundy's statement says his company is optimistic that the restaurants will open again "with the assistance of the justice system."

Dallas-based Pizza Hut Inc. is owned by Yum Brands Inc.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)