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Washington DC Franchise Attorneys

The “Go-To Guy” For Hardball Franchise Litigation.

– Multi-Unit Franchisee Owner ($3 Million case)

Inner Workings of Franchise Law

The “Go-To Guy” For Hardball Franchise Litigation.

– Multi-Unit Franchisee Owner ($3 Million case)

Franchisee Lawyer Looking Out Window

The “Go-To Guy” For Hardball Franchise Litigation.

– Multi-Unit Franchisee Owner ($3 Million case)

Planning your new franchise

The “Go-To Guy” For Hardball Franchise Litigation.

– Multi-Unit Franchisee Owner ($3 Million case)

Businesswoman opening a franchise

The “Go-To Guy” For Hardball Franchise Litigation.

– Multi-Unit Franchisee Owner ($3 Million case)

Nationally Recognized Franchise, Antitrust, and Commercial Contracts Trial Lawyers

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Recommended Firm in Franchise Litigation

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Top Attorney USA – Litigation

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Superior Attorney in Franchising

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Superior Attorney in Antitrust

Finance Monthly Global Award Winner Logo

Franchise Law Firm of the Year

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Chosen Law Firm for Commercial Litigation

BBB of Washington DC

A+ Rated

Washington DC Chamber of Commerce

Verified Member

Lawyers of Distinction logo

Franchise Law Firm of the Year

ISSUU

Best Law Firm for Franchise Disputes in 2017

Law Awards Finanace Monthly

Franchise Law Firm of the Year

Testimonials

"Jeff, I am amazed that you were able to get the liquidated damages down that low, which allowed us to avoid bankruptcy. Until we retained you we had been dealing with hotel consultants who appeared to make little head-way in lowering the liquidated damages."

Multi-Unit Hotel Franchisee, Economy Segment
(value over $3 Million)

Get Legal Assistance from Franchise Lawyers Who Defend the Franchisee

The Goldstein Law Firm is a boutique national law firm that represents exclusively franchisees and dealers, not franchisors, suppliers or manufacturers. There are only a handful of franchisee lawyer specialists remaining in the country, as most have begun representing both franchisors and franchisees.

Franchise law is a multifaceted area of law that requires specialization. Any franchise attorney can tell you about a variety of cases where franchise agreements have gone south.

Here at Goldstein, our attorneys have as much as 30 years of experience handling all aspects of franchise litigation throughout the county.

We also specialize in franchise agreement assistance, bringing you the latest developments in franchise and distribution law. With the publishing of our Franchise Trends newsletter, we can help franchisees stay updated on developments concerning different legal aspects of franchising.

Dealing with the complexities and challenges of franchise law requires focus and specialization, which is why we represent dealers and franchisees exclusively. Unlike other firms, we at Goldstein are on the side of the franchisee. We can help you decipher the fine print of your franchise agreement and single out details your franchisor may not want you to know.

Without a knowledgeable and competent franchise consultant, you may be vulnerable to the pitfalls of franchise law. Simply walking away is not a viable solution if you’re looking to protect your assets and yourself from financially damaging consequences. For those who have already signed an agreement and are struggling with franchisor difficulties, our franchise law firm also provides legal assistance through its franchise attorneys.

Frequently Asked Questions on Franchise Law:

Do franchisors have an obligation to their franchisees to act competently?

In theory, it’s possible that a franchise attorney could prove that a franchisor violated a franchise agreement by poorly managing the franchise system. Inadequately capitalizing the franchise system or poorly managing advertising campaigns could potentially violate a franchise agreement.

However, there are few if any recent case findings in which a franchisor has violated the terms of a franchise agreement. And if the franchise agreement hasn’t been violated, the courts almost never support a free-standing claim of negligence against the franchisor.

In other words, courts have held that franchisors do not owe a duty of competence to their franchisees.

It’s interesting to note, however, that many franchise law firms stay busy addressing the flip side of this issue–whether the franchisee has acted negligently in operating his or her franchise

Do franchisors have a duty to provide support to their franchisees?

On paper franchisors have this duty to some degree. Most franchise agreements explicitly set forth the respective duties owed by both the franchisors and franchisees.

However, the provisions outlining those duties owed by franchisors are few and normally too ambiguous to enforce. Most franchise agreements include contractual language stating to the effect that “the franchisor doesn’t guarantee the success of the franchisee.”

In practice, this means that franchisors really don’t have a compelling duty to provide support to their franchisees.

Also, most franchise agreements require franchisees to state in their agreements that their business venture involves risks, one of the most prominent being the business knowledge of the franchisee.

This results in a double standard: The franchisor has only a few ephemeral obligations to the franchisor. But in contrast, the “whereas” provisions in the introduction of most franchise agreements indicate that the franchisor is the undisputed guru in operating franchises in that particular industry.

What are some of the most common duties imposed on franchisors under franchise agreements?

It’s important to recognize that these duties are incredibly limited in scope. That said, they include, among other things: (1) locating appropriate sites for stores, (2) managerial assistance, (3) advertising assistance, (4) providing operating manuals, (5) training, and (6) identifying third party vendors from whom necessary products and services may be sourced.

Keep in mind, these areas are so broadly defined that even the best trial attorney would have difficulty in trying to identify – never mind proving – the contours of such duties unless he or she had extensive experience within a franchise law firm.

Are franchisors permitted to modify their requirements or system standards during the term of the franchise?

Believe it or not, they usually can make these changes. Almost all courts confronted with this question have readily permitted franchisors to change the obligations owed to their franchisees during the term of the franchise.

Franchisors gain this fluidity by lacing their franchise agreements with language that “the franchisor is permitted to modify or change the Operations Manual.” They can then “incorporate by reference” the Operations Manual into the franchise agreement.

The franchisor’s unbridled discretion is further bolstered by language in the franchise agreement that “the franchisor may modify the Operations Manual in its ‘sole discretion.'”

Everybody knows that people and businesses are subject to liability for “negligence.” Can't franchisors be held liable for negligence to their franchisees as well?

The short answer is no, not under the common law of almost every state.

When the franchisee is only claiming economic loss – which is almost always the case -the franchisee must seek its damages through a breach of contract action.

The franchisee would have to prove that the franchisor violated the franchise agreement. This is very difficult to prove, as the franchisor’s duties are usually few, ephemeral, and deliberately vague.

It’s possible a franchisor could be found liable if he or she failed to work in good faith and with fair dealing, but this is a long shot.

Note, however, that courts have found franchisors liable for negligence in certain
cases where personal injuries were involved.

Read more FAQs

Recent Litigation Issues on Franchising, Distribution and Antitrust Law

Franchisee Bill of Rights Doesn’t Ensure Franchisor Competency

August 3, 2017

Franchisee Bill of Rights Doesn’t Ensure Franchisor Competency By: Jeffrey M. Goldstein A recent suit in the United States District Court for the Western District of New York resulted in the denial of a franchisee’s motion for a preliminary injunction to prevent the franchisor from requiring the franchisee to install a new computer system. JDS Grp. Ltd. v. Metal Supermarkets Franchising Am., Inc., No. 17-CV-6293 (MAT), 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 94779 (W.D.N.Y. 2017). In JDS, the franchisee JDS brought a suit against its franchisor Metal Supermarkets Franchising America (MSFA) for violation of the Washington State Franchise Investment Protection Act (FIPA), which includes a Franchisee Bill of Rights, as well as for breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing. The facts as found by the Court include the following. JDS owned two retail stores that sold metal components used in various industries. The stores were in Kent, Washington, and Portland, Oregon. JDS had been a franchisee of MSFA for approximately ten years. JDS used a software system called “Metal Magic,” that was provided by MSFA. In 2012, MSFA determined that Metal Magic was outdated, inefficient, and unable to accommodate anticipated growth and functionality changes. As a result, MSFA undertook development of a new, modern software system, called “MetalTech,” which cost over $1,000,000 and took three years to develop. In 2015, MSFA began installing MetalTech at its franchisee locations. JDS did not want to use MetalTech in its stores, but instead wanted to keep using Metal Magic. Plaintiff […]


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Subterfuge, Prevarication and Deception – Another Inefficient Franchise Territorial Dispute

July 16, 2017

Subterfuge, Prevarication and Deception – Another Inefficient Franchise Territorial Dispute By: Jeffrey M. Goldstein, Esq. In a recent automobile dealer territorial dispute case, the United States District Court for the District of Colorado dismissed several claims against the manufacturer and allowed one claim to proceed. European Motorcars of Littleton, Inc. v. Mercedes-Benz USA, LLC, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 93857. The practice of dual assignment, or the appointment of competing dealers near existing auto dealers, seems to be getting more prevalent. Plaintiff Mercedes-Benz of Littleton (MBOL) has been a franchised Mercedes-Benz automobile dealership since 1996. Defendant Mercedes-Benz USA (MBUSA) is the North American distributor and manufacturer representative for the Mercedes-Benz brand of vehicles. In 2015, MBUSA invited Defendant Bobby Rahal Motorcar Company (BRMC) to establish a new Mercedes-Benz dealership less than nine miles from MBOL’s facility. MBUSA did not inform MBOL of its intent to establish a new dealership until July 2016, when an MBUSA employee traveled to Colorado and informally notified MBOL’s management of MBUSA’s plan. In October 2016, MBUSA sent MBOL a formal notice pursuant to Colo. Rev. Stat. § 12-6-120.3 (the Statute), which stated the exact location of the new dealership. The address for the new dealership is nine miles and two freeway exits north of MBOL’s dealership. The notice also identified the new dealer operator as BRMC. MBUSA and BRMC had taken material steps towards establishing the new dealership, such as executing a letter of intent. When MBUSA establishes a dealership, it enters into an agreement with the […]


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Attorney Jeffrey M. Goldstein Joins Ranks of Global Law Experts

June 28, 2017

The Goldstein Law Firm is privileged to announce that firm founder Jeffrey M. Goldstein has recently been named a Global Law Expert in franchise law. Based in London, Global Law Experts (GLE) recognizes exceptional attorneys worldwide and is billed as, “[t]he premier guide to leading legal professionals throughout the world.” Recognition by Global Law Experts provides notable distinction: GLE recognizes just one attorney in each practice area per county. According to GLE’s website, it is the only organization to do so. Consideration requires a peer recommendation or approval by Global Law Experts’ research department, and all candidates must complete, “an intensive research process before being passed onto the Nominations Panel for final assessment and validation.” Each year, GLE sends its Recommendation Questionnaire to over 45,000 business leaders, advisors and in-house attorneys to solicit recommendations for the world’s leading attorneys. About Global Law Experts Global Law Experts currently recommends and endorses lawyers in 140 countries and over 50 areas of practice. Rather than focusing solely on attorneys at large international law firms, GLE also understands that the level of service provided by attorneys at smaller boutique practices can often exceed that provided by partners in Big Law. As stated by GLE: “It’s often easy to assume bigger means better, but that is not always the case with law firms; boutique practices specialise in just one legal field and as a result can often offer the same (if not better) advice on a more personal level at a typically lower hourly rate […]


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Tea Franchise Termination Found to be in Bad Faith

June 27, 2017

The High Court in Kuala Lumpur, in refusing to prohibit a former franchisee from operating independently after a termination, caused more damage to the Franchisor (Chatime Fusion Tea House) than a horde of Helopeltes. The Judge ruled that the Franchisor’s termination was in bad faith and that an injunction preventing the Franchisee from operating would “cause great injustice.” The Franchisee in the case was so angry that he filed a police report regarding the termination.  Too funny. The Goldstein Law Firm has recently been successful in seven straight injunctive cases even though these types of emergency actions are the most difficult to win for franchisees.  http://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/nation/2017/05/29/court-dismisses-chatimes-bid-for-injunction-against-ex-franchise-holder/      


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Jeffrey M. Goldstein Named Among Esteemed Lawyers of America®

June 26, 2017

The Goldstein Law Firm is pleased to announce that founding attorney Jeffrey M. Goldstein has been named among the Esteemed Lawyers of America®. This is the third time this year Mr. Goldstein and the firm have been awarded for their achievements and client service, following the firm’s recognition as Best Franchise Disputes Law Firm 2017 – USA by Acquisition International and Franchise Law Firm of the Year in the 2017 Finance Monthly Law Awards. Esteemed Lawyers of America® (ELOA) is an organization whose mission is, “to recognize the most respected lawyers in the country.” It seeks to help individuals and businesses find quality legal representation by offering a list of attorneys who are both (i) recommended by their peers, and (ii) qualified for recognition based upon their experience, commitment to client service and ethical standards. As described by the organization: “ELOA was established to honor those attorneys who are the most respected and esteemed by their peers throughout the legal community, and to help consumers identify them. . . . The best attorneys are being replaced by better marketers[,] and consumers don’t often know who the finest lawyers are anymore. By identifying the top lawyers as determined by the people who know them best – other lawyers – and educating the public as to who they are, Esteemed Lawyers of America® aims to change that.” Selection Criteria for Esteemed Lawyers of America® Membership in Esteemed Lawyers of America® is conditioned upon successful completion of a two-stage application process. The first […]


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Recent Blogs on Franchise, Dealership and Antitrust Law

Attorney Jeffrey M. Goldstein Joins Ranks of Global Law Experts

Jun 28, 2017

The Goldstein Law Firm is privileged to announce that firm founder Jeffrey...


Read More

Tea Franchise Termination Found to be in Bad Faith

Jun 27, 2017

The High Court in Kuala Lumpur, in refusing to prohibit a former franchisee...


Read More

Jeffrey M. Goldstein Named Among Esteemed Lawyers of America®

Jun 26, 2017

The Goldstein Law Firm is pleased to announce that founding attorney...


Read More

Goldstein Law Firm Honored as Law Awards 2017’s Franchise Law Firm of the Year

May 19, 2017

We are proud to announce that the Goldstein Law Firm was recently named...


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Solutions franchise blog image

Reformist Thoughts on Franchise, Dealership, Distribution and Antitrust Law

Seattle Hempfest and Las Vegas Hemp Festival End Franchise Agreement

February 27, 2017

It appears that no post-termination restrictions on smoking pot will be imposed on terminated former licensee. It would have been interesting to see how a court might have applied the doctrine of unclean hands in any injunctive action. What is also notable in this dispute is that the business...


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Franchise Lawyer, Jeff Goldstein, of Goldstein Law Firm

Choosing a Franchise Law Firm to Represent You

My Franchise Agreement is Expiring, Now What? (Part I of II)

Contact Us

Goldstein Law Firm, PLLC

1629 K St. NW, Suite 300,
Washington, DC 20006

Phone: 202-293-3947
Fax: 202-315-2514

Free Consultation

Free Consultation

Esteemed Lawyers of America Logo

Esteemed Law Firm Complex Litigation

Global Law Experts Logo

Recommended Firm in Franchise Litigation

Who's Who Attorney Logo

Top Attorney USA – Litigation

Avvo Franchise Lawyer Symbol

Superior Attorney in Franchising

Avvo Franchise Lawyer Symbol

Superior Attorney in Antitrust

Finance Monthly Global Award Winner Logo

Franchise Law Firm of the Year

Lead Counsel logo

Chosen Law Firm for Commercial Litigation

BBB of Washington DC

A+ Rated

Washington DC Chamber of Commerce

Verified Member

Lawyers of Distinction logo

Franchise Law Firm of the Year

ISSUU

Best Law Firm for Franchise Disputes in 2017

Law Awards Finanace Monthly

Franchise Law Firm of the Year