Brentwood-based KR Calvert Co. — a cornerstone franchise for one of the biggest non-emergency medical transport companies in the country — has filed for bankruptcy protection following the expensive loss of a defamation suit.
Founded in 2010 as one of the first franchises of North Carolina-based Caliber Patient Care, KR Calvert Co. LLC. and Calvert Health LLC filed for voluntary Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the Middle District of Tennessee days before New Year’s. Both are headquartered in suite 100 of the Protective Life building at 1620 Westgate Circle. The firm listed assets valued at no more than $50,000 with debts ranging between $1 million and $10 million. Calvert Health, under CEO Klein Calvert is the Nashville operation of Caliber, which is headed by CEO Kyle Calvert.
One nail in the coffin appears to have come within the last two years when the firm's loss of a lawsuit against the franchisees of a failed Caliber franchise from Indiana was upheld, which ultimately resulted in a judgment of over $150,000 in damages and attorneys’ fees to compensate Bryan and Jennifer Sandys. The Sandyses bought an NEMT franchise from Caliber in 2014, which they branded and incorporated as JBS Transport, yet they terminated the contract within months. Caliber subsequently distributed a corporate email to other franchisees fraught with allegedly defamatory statements about the Sandyses who then sued for breach of contract and defamation.
Caliber is hardly the easiest franchising operation to get off the ground and sustain. The company charges an initial franchise fee of $10,000, but the total investment typically ranges between $110,000 and $350,000 with a six percent royalty fee thereafter.
The Sandyses eventually succeeding in settling out of court with various defendants under Caliber for a total of $80,000 and, from there, narrowed the scope of their complaint to target solely K.R. Calvert Co. whose representation in Hamilton County, Indiana — P. Adam Davis — was later found in appellate court as of January 2020 to have litigated in bad faith.
The appeal was of a January 2019 decision by Chief Judge Cale Bradford that awarded the Sandyses damages to the tune of $10,000 for breach of contract plus $40,000 for defamation and over $100,000 in attorneys’ fees.
“K.R. Calvert contends that the trial court abused its discretion in denying its request for relief from the default judgment, erred in awarding damages for breach of contract and defamation per se, and improperly awarded attorney’s fees. Because we disagree with all of K.R. Calvert’s contentions, we affirm,” Bradford wrote for the appellate panel.
Caliber was founded in 2010, and in the same year, KR Calvert Co. was established as its affiliate in Brentwood under Klein Calvert as president and CEO of Calvert Health, but this move involved the restructuring of Caliber such that Kyle Calvert assumed the position of Caliber CEO. In the same year that the Sandys franchised from Caliber, the company became Caliber, rebranding after it had originally been MedEx Patient Transport. MedEx uniforms, vehicles and offices were undergoing the rebranding process when the Sandyses were attempting to carve out their own piece of the pie.
Caliber provides transportation services but also pairs patient needs for home healthcare and the deliveries of durable medical equipment and pharmaceuticals. KR Calvert also has an office at 113 Seaboard Lane in Franklin.