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Washington DC Franchise Attorneys

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

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

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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

Lawyer USA

Antitrust and Franchise Law Firm of the Year in DC

Lawyer USA

Leading Professionals in Law

Lawyer USA

Franchise Law
in the District of Columbia

Lawyer USA

Franchise Law Firm
of the Year – USA

Lawyer International

Lawyer International
Legal 100
2018

Lawyer International

Lawyer International
Legal 100
2019

ACQ5 LAW AWARDS 2019

US (New York)
Franchise Lawyer
of the Year
ACQ5 GLOBAL AWARDS 2019, JEFF GOLDSTEIN, GOLDSTEIN LAW FIRM, PLLC

ACQ5 LAW AWARDS 2019

US (New York)
Franchise Law Firm
of the Year
ACQ5 GLOBAL AWARDS 2019, GOLDSTEIN LAW FIRM, PLLC

Lawyers of Distinction logo

2020 Power Lawyers

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 - 2017

Top Franchise Litigator for Franchisees and Dealers

Top Franchise Litigator for Franchisees and Dealers

2017 Finance Monthly Award

2017 Finance Monthly Award

ACQ5 LAW AWARDS 2018

Franchise Law Firm
of the Year
ACQ5 LAW AWARDS 2018

ACQ5 LAW AWARDS 2019

Franchise Law Firm
of the Year
ACQ5 LAW AWARDS 2019

Franchise Law Firm of the Year

Franchise Law Firm of the Year

Franchise Law Firm of the Year

Franchise Law Firm of the Year
Global Awards 2017

Global Law Experts

Franchise Law Firm
of the Year
in New York – 2019

Finance Monthly Law Awards - 2018

Finance Monthly Law Awards - 2018

Franchise Law Firm of the Year

Franchise Law Firm
of the Year
Global Awards 2018

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

Petroleum Franchisor Required to Litigate Franchisee Dealer’s Wrongful Termination Claim

July 15, 2019

The United States District Court for the District of New Jersey rejected the petroleum franchisor's request to dismiss on summary judgment the gasoline dealer franchisee's case for wrongful termination because, according to the Court, the defendant bears the burden of proof in actions under the PMPA, and the bulk of defendant's evidence was testimonial and thus subject to credibility determinations; material disputes existed regarding the following facts, going to the franchisor's good faith in demanding changes to the renewal agreement: (1) the existence of a formula for calculating increases in rent at Defendant's franchises -- although Defendant contended such a policy exists, it cited oral deposition, in-court testimony, or affidavits, uncorroborated by any written policy; (2) whether the petroleum franchisor's employees, Deakin and McGee, in fact warned plaintiff that...


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Should You Consider a Franchise if You Were Laid Off Due to the Coronavirus Pandemic?

June 30, 2020

The novel coronavirus pandemic is having unprecedented effects on our nation’s economy, and many companies are being forced to lay off their employees due to mandatory closures of “non-essential” businesses. Certain industries, such as the restaurant and fitness industries, have been hit particularly hard; and, in order to avoid the risk of being laid off again, some individuals may be considering the possibility of becoming their own boss by buying a franchise. If you fall into this category, should you think seriously about getting into the world of franchising? Here are some important considerations to keep in mind: 1. You Should Not Make a Long-Term Decision Based on Your Short-Term Circumstances While the novel coronavirus pandemic is (hopefully) a once-in-a-lifetime event, things will eventually return to normal. So, while you may be out of work for now, the job market...


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Franchise Times Announces its Best Franchises to Buy in 2020

June 26, 2020

Each year, the Franchise Times publishes its list of “Best Franchises to Buy,” also known as the “‘Zor Awards” (for those who aren’t in the know, “‘zor” is industry shorthand for “franchisor”). It recently published its list of award recipients for 2020, with the following franchises named the best in their respective categories: Around the House (Home Repair) – The Glass Guru Quick Flip (Quick-Service Burger Restaurants) – Culver’s Fresh Baked (Bakeries and Cafés) – McAlister’s Deli Cut & Dry (Lawn Care and Painting) – Five Star Painting Game, Set, Match (Sports Bars) – Twin Peaks After the Storm (Disaster Restoration) – Paul Davis Restoration Window Shopping (Retail) – uBreakiFix Sweat It Out (Boutique Fitness) – CycleBar Help Wanted (Employment and Staffing) – PrideStaff Bring it Home (Delivery and...


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Do You Really Need a Franchise Business Review?

June 19, 2020

If you are serious about buying a franchise, you are most likely aware of the recommendation that you hire a lawyer to perform a franchise business review. But, with all of the up-front costs you will need to incur already, and since you are prepared to move forward even though the opportunity has its risks, do you really need to pay for a review? Of course, you know our answer already. With more than 30 years of experience in franchising, we have represented thousands of new and existing franchisees, and we have seen far too many franchisees struggle and lose their businesses simply because they failed to take the necessary precautions during the buying process. With this in mind, here are our top four reasons why we believe all prospective franchisees need franchise business reviews. 4 Reasons Why All Prospective Franchisees Need Franchise Business Reviews 1. Buying a Franchise is...


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Court Prohibits Tax Franchisee from Operating by Enforcing Post-Term Restrictive Covenant

June 11, 2020

Court Prohibits Tax Franchisee from Operating by Enforcing Post-Term Restrictive Covenant By: Jeffrey M. Goldstein A federal judge in Washington recently issued a preliminary injunction enjoining a former Liberty Tax franchisee from operating as an independent tax preparer for two years following the termination of the franchise agreements. JTH Tax LLC v. McHugh, No. C20-329RSM, 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 61139 (W.D. Wash. Apr. 7, 2020)  As discussed below, the court agreed with the franchisor’s argument that McHugh knowingly and intentionally breached her Franchise Agreements with Plaintiffs by operating KVC, a competing tax preparation business, after Plaintiffs terminated her franchise. BACKGROUND In 2015, Defendant Lorraine McHugh entered into Franchise Agreements with Liberty Tax and she was given a territory of areas near and including Federal Way, Washington, in which to...


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Franchisee Lawyer’s Failure to Oppose Preliminary Injunction Motion Results in Imposition of Post-Termination Restrictive Covenant

May 15, 2020

Franchisee Lawyer’s Failure to Oppose Preliminary Injunction Motion Results in Imposition of Post-Termination Restrictive Covenant By: Jeffrey M. Goldstein As if the plight of franchisees and dealers in contested litigation were not challenging enough, a recent case from the United States District Court for the Western District of North Carolina arguably makes that predicament more formidable. Maaco Franchisor SPV, LLC v. Sadwick, No. 3:20-CV-147, 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 81391 (W.D.N.C. May 7, 2020). Most damaging to franchisees and dealers is that because the franchisee in Maaco failed to file an opposition to the franchisor’s motion for a preliminary injunction to shut down the franchisee’s business after a challenged termination, the federal court judge decided the injunction request without any opposition evidence or argument from the franchisee. Specifically, the ruling in...


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Recent Blogs on Franchise, Dealership and Antitrust Law

Should You Consider a Franchise if You Were Laid Off Due to the Coronavirus Pandemic?

Jun 30, 2020

The novel coronavirus pandemic is having unprecedented effects on our...


Read More

Franchise Times Announces its Best Franchises to Buy in 2020

Jun 26, 2020

Each year, the Franchise Times publishes its list of “Best Franchises to...


Read More

Do You Really Need a Franchise Business Review?

Jun 19, 2020

If you are serious about buying a franchise, you are most likely aware of...


Read More
Solutions franchise blog image

Franchisee Progress Doomed by Archaic Economic Thinking

April 5, 2019

Problem: As discussed in more detail below, although it is possible to achieve some measure of...

Read More

COVID-19 HAS KILLED MY BUSINESS – MAY I LEGALLY TERMINATE MY CONTRACTS?

March 20, 2020

The coronavirus (COVID-19) (“the Virus”) has made it impossible or impracticable for many...

Read More

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

Lawyer USA

Antitrust and Franchise Law Firm of the Year in DC

Lawyer USA

Leading Professionals in Law

Lawyer USA

Franchise Law
in the District of Columbia

Lawyer USA

Franchise Law Firm
of the Year – USA

Lawyer International

Lawyer International
Legal 100
2018

Lawyer International

Lawyer International
Legal 100
2019

ACQ5 LAW AWARDS 2019

US (New York)
Franchise Lawyer
of the Year
ACQ5 GLOBAL AWARDS 2019, JEFF GOLDSTEIN, GOLDSTEIN LAW FIRM, PLLC

ACQ5 LAW AWARDS 2019

US (New York)
Franchise Law Firm
of the Year
ACQ5 GLOBAL AWARDS 2019, GOLDSTEIN LAW FIRM, PLLC

Lawyers of Distinction logo

2020 Power Lawyers

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 - 2017

Top Franchise Litigator for Franchisees and Dealers

Top Franchise Litigator for Franchisees and Dealers

2017 Finance Monthly Award

2017 Finance Monthly Award

ACQ5 LAW AWARDS 2018

Franchise Law Firm
of the Year
ACQ5 LAW AWARDS 2018

ACQ5 LAW AWARDS 2019

Franchise Law Firm
of the Year
ACQ5 LAW AWARDS 2019

Franchise Law Firm of the Year

Franchise Law Firm of the Year

Franchise Law Firm of the Year

Franchise Law Firm of the Year
Global Awards 2017

Global Law Experts

Franchise Law Firm
of the Year
in New York – 2019

Finance Monthly Law Awards - 2018

Finance Monthly Law Awards - 2018

Franchise Law Firm of the Year

Franchise Law Firm
of the Year
Global Awards 2018