EXISTENCE OF MISSISSIPPI DEALER/FRANCHISE TERMINATION, FRAUD AND NON-RENEWAL LAWS AND FRANCHISE INDUSTRY-SPECIFIC LAWS

In Mississippi, the following Dealer/Franchise Termination and Non-Renewal Laws, Fraud, and Franchise Industry-Specific Laws exist:

– Mississippi Has a Disclosure/Registration Franchise Law
– Mississippi Has a Relationship/Termination Franchise Law
– Mississippi Does Not Have a General Business Opportunity Franchise Law
– Mississippi Has an Alcoholic Beverage Wholesaler/Franchise Law
– Mississippi Has an Equipment Dealer/Franchise Law
– Mississippi Does Not Have a Gasoline Dealer/Franchise Law
– Mississippi Does Not Have a Marine Dealer/Franchise Law
– Mississippi Has a Motor Vehicle Dealer/Franchise Law
– Mississippi Does Not Have a Motorcycle Dealer/Franchise Law
– Mississippi Does Not Have a Recreational and Power Sports Vehicle Dealer/Franchise Law
– Mississippi Does Not Have a Restaurant Liability Law

Mississippi regulates the franchise relationship through not just one statute, but several statutes known as the Mississippi franchise statutes (“MFS”).

Section 75-24-53 of the MFS proscribes a franchise termination or non-renewal except upon ninety days' notice. Specifically, the MFS states that no person who has granted a franchise to another person shall cancel or otherwise terminate any such franchise agreement without notifying such person of the cancellation, termination or failure to renew in writing at least ninety (90) days in advance of the cancellation, termination or failure to renew. The MFS, however, exempts from the ninety-day notice provisoin, any termination or non-renewal based upon criminal misconduct, fraud, abandonment, bankruptcy or insolvency of the franchisee, or the giving of a no account or insufficient funds check.

Damages for violations of the MFS are provided for in Section 75-24-15, where the Act states that a franchisee suffering damage as a result of the failure to give notice as required of the cancellation or termination of a franchise, may institute legal proceedings against the franchisor who canceled or terminated his franchise. Further, the MFS provides that when the franchisee prevails under the Act against a franchisor for a relationship violation, the franchisee may be awarded a recovery of damages sustained to include loss of goodwill, costs of the suit, and any equitable relief that the court deems proper. In contrast, the Act provides an injunctive right in favor of the attorney general – but not a private franchisee – to whenever it appears that any person is engaged or is about to engage in any act or practice in violation of the MFA.

In Mississippi, the following Dealer/Franchise Termination, Fraud and Non-Renewal Laws, and Franchise Industry-Specific Laws, are identified as follows:

Mississippi State Franchise Disclosure/Registration Laws
Mississippi Franchisors are barred from misrepresenting earnings and must comply with the FTC franchise disclosure rule
Mississippi Code 1972 Annotated, Title 75, Chap. 24, Sec. 75-24-55

Mississippi State Franchise Relationship/Termination Laws
Mississippi Franchises Law
Mississippi Code 1972 Annotated, Title 75, Chap. 24, Sec. 75-24-51 through 75-24-63

Mississippi State Business Opportunity Laws
Mississippi Has No Franchise statute of applicability to Business Opportunity Sellers
Business opportunity sellers must comply with the FTC business opportunity rule

Mississippi Alcoholic Beverage Franchise Wholesaler Laws
Mississippi Beer Industry Fair Dealing Act
Miss. Code Ann. §67-7-1 to §67-7-23

Mississippi Equipment Franchise/Dealer Laws
Mississippi vehicles, machinery, consumer products, and parts Franchise/Dealer law
Miss. Code Ann. §75-77-1 to §75-77-19

Mississippi Gasoline Franchise/Dealer Laws
Mississippi Has No Franchise Statute Applying to this Market Niche

Mississippi Marine Franchise/Dealer Laws
Mississippi Has No Franchise Statute Applying to this Market Niche

Mississippi Motor Vehicle Franchise/Dealer Laws
Mississippi motor vehicle Franchise/Dealer law
Miss. Code Ann. §63-17-51 to §63-17-141

Mississippi Motorcycle Franchise/Dealer Laws
Mississippi Has No Franchise Statute Applying to this Market Niche

Mississippi Recreational and Powersports Vehicle Franchise/Dealer Laws
Mississippi Has No Franchise Statute Applying to this Market Niche

Mississippi Restaurants
Mississippi Has No Franchise Statute Applying to this Market Niche

Walker v. U-Haul Co. of Mississippi, United States Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit, June 25, 1984, 734 F.2d 1068, 1984-2 Trade Cases P 66,078 (“U-Haul did not give Walker explicit written notice that it was terminating the moving center agreement, which is a “franchise” within the terms of the statute.24 Walker therefore asserts that U-Haul terminated his franchise without the ninety-day notice required by the Mississippi franchise statute. The moving center agreement provided that it would terminate automatically, and simultaneously, with the lease agreement, which was to terminate on March 31, 1977. Thus, Walker had agreed that the franchise would terminate on March 31 unless the lease were renewed. This alone might not satisfy the notice requirement of the franchise statute, which by its terms applies to both definite and *1075 indefinite agreements and requires notification of a “failure to renew.” Miss.Code Ann. §§ 75–24–51(6), 75–24–53 (1972). But Walker was not actually required to vacate the premises until September 30. He in fact continued to operate as a U-Haul dealer at the moving center until October 3, although U-Haul refused to accept the $400 rent he tendered after March. On April 1, six months before he was required to cease doing business, U-Haul wrote a letter to Walker explaining that “lease has expired as of March 31, 1977,” and returning his check in the amount of $400. Although the Mississippi courts have not yet interpreted the state's franchise statute, we are confident that they would hold that Walker had actual notice in writing of the termination of the franchise agreement well in advance of the ninety days required by the statute. The April 1 letter notified him that the U-Haul lease had been terminated, and the moving center agreement provided that the franchise would terminate simultaneously with the lease agreement. To require U-Haul to provide separate notification of the termination of the franchise would be to construe the statute with dogged literal-mindedness. We discern no attempt by U-Haul to circumvent the requirements of the law, and the objective of the statute—to prevent summary termination of franchise agreements—has been satisfied.”)

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