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In 1948 Coit was sold to West Coast Cleaners with Louis J Kearn as the general manager. In 1950 Louis J Kearn purchased Coit Cleaners from West Coast Cleaners and founded Coit Services, Inc. Originally the company's only service was dry cleaning. Seeing a great opportunity in the local market, Coit began to offer drapery cleaning services. Coit's founder, Louis J Kearn, developed a number of patents for drapery cleaning. In 1952, Louis instituted a guarantee of the company's work, which was very unusual at that time for the industry. In 1963 Coit opened the world's first specialized drapery cleaning facility in Burlingame, California. Coit started franchising in 1962 with the first franchisee opening in Eureka, California. By the 1970s the company had over 155 locations across the United States and had expanded its services to include carpet and upholstery cleaning. The 1990s saw an expansion into HVAC cleaning, tile and grout cleaning, and hardwood floor refinishing. In the 2000s Coit purchased Superior Restoration, Inc. in Seattle, Washington and soon began to offer fire, smoke, and water damage restoration services nationwide. Coit now offers many kinds of residential and commercial cleaning, and restoration services.
Coit's franchises have expanded to include locations in the United States, Canada, and Thailand. They have company owned locations throughout the U.S. and Canada, but their corporate base is in Burlingame, California. Coit is an LLC with owner, Mr. Kearn owning 10% of the CO. Coit continues to service more than 500,000 customers yearly.
Sexual harassment at Coit
In 2003, Coit Services settled a lawsuit brought by the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The lawsuit had been filed by female employees who claimed that they had been physically and verbally harassed by founder and chairman Louis Kearn. Coit agreed to pay US$190,000 to the plaintiffs, provide sexual harassment training for all of its employees, and apologize to a female employee who was denied promotion after making claims of sexual harassment.
In 1993, Coit was sued in a California state court by an employee who claimed to have been harassed by Kearn. Coit's liability insurer refused to defend on the grounds that its policy did not cover intentional acts. The employee settled with Coit; then their lawyers joined forces and sued the insurer. The trial court's directed verdict for the insurer was upheld by the California Court of Appeal (First District), which agreed with the insurer's application of its policy to this situation. Coit Drapery Cleaners, Inc. v. Sequoia Ins. Co., 14 Cal.App.4th 1595 (1993).
- Phoenix Business Journal article on harassment lawsuit settlement
- EEOC report on harassment lawsuit settlement
- About Coit page from coit.com
- Press release