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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

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

Top Franchise Litigator for Franchisees and Dealers

Top Franchise Litigator for Franchisees and Dealers

2017 Finance Monthly Award

2017 Finance Monthly Award

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

Own ‘Em All or Franchise ‘Em Out?

November 14, 2017

Own ’em all or franchise ’em out? Or, do some of each, and dual-distribute? According to famous Economist Ronald Coase, firms exist to minimize transaction costs. On its face, this theory, even though it is from 1937, generally explains whether particular brands or firms decide to operate as a chain or franchise. In essence, the fewer transaction costs the more likely a firm will contract for distribution services with third parties in the market (thru franchise contracts, for instance) versus doing the distribution functions in-house. Coase’s theory can also explain to some extent the proportion of company-owned stores in any given system that has chosen to offer franchises. However, the empirical evidence regarding such franchise integration decisions does not always dovetail with the theory. Indeed, a recent debate between two CEOs of two smaller pizza chains shows that decisions regarding whether to franchise, or the degree of dual-distribution in a particular franchise system, can derive from individual personality predisposition, and not explicit economic theory. Blaze, &Pizza CEO’s Square Off in Franchise Debate. For instance, Mizes, who explained that he wanted “to expand as fast as possible”, grew his company through franchising. In contrast, Lastoria, who felt that “the goal was to embellish the uniqueness of each restaurant” developed his business through company-owned stores. Interestingly, both Mizes and Lastoria felt that “it would be difficult” to ‘have it both ways” by employing both strategies simultaneously.


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Franchisee Waves Goodbye to Car Dealership due to Ineffective Waiver

November 1, 2017

Franchisee Waves Goodbye to Car Dealership due to Ineffective Waiver By: Jeffrey M. Goldstein A recent decision by the United States District Court for the Sixth Circuit affirmed a lower federal court’s ruling that Chrysler (“Chrysler” or “Franchisor”) had legally terminated one of its car dealers in Riverhead, NY, (“Eagle Auto-Mall”, “Dealer” or “Franchisee”) for the Dealer’s failure to have built new dealership facilities within the contractually specified time period set out in the parties’ Letter of Intent (“LOI”).  FCA US LLC v. Eagle Auto-Mall Corp., No. 16-2375, 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 13232 (6th Cir. July 20, 2017).  Finding that the time deadline terms had not been waived or modified, the Court of Appeals (“Court”) held that Eagle committed a material breach of the agreement by failing to complete its renovations within the LOI’s eight-month window. The facts as related by the Court are as follows. Eagle had been a long-time car dealer selling Chrysler and Jeep vehicles out of a single facility that also housed its Mazda-Kia-Volvo dealership. After Chrysler filed for bankruptcy in 2009, it attempted to cancel its dealership agreement with Eagle; however, Eagle resisted, and Eagle obtained a court order requiring Chrysler to enter into a Letter of Intent (“LOI”) with Eagle for a new dealership. Under the LOI, Eagle was required to complete the construction of a dealer facility before it had a right to obtain a franchise agreement. Specifically, the LOI established three ways in which Eagle could provide for a legally compliant facility, […]


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Goldstein Law Firm Selected for Exclusive Membership in Leaders in Law

October 30, 2017

We are pleased to announce that firm founder Jeffrey M. Goldstein has recently been selected for exclusive membership in Leaders in Law. Mr. Goldstein has been selected as the exclusive member for the USA – New York region for 2017-2018. He is currently one of only for franchise lawyers selected for inclusion worldwide, and he is currently the only franchise lawyer selected in the United States. About Leaders in Law Leaders in Law provides business owners with a streamlined way to find attorneys in their areas of need. As stated on the organization’s website: “Leaders in Law is the ideal way to find a lawyer anywhere in the world specialising in the area of law with which you need assistance or advice. Very few people have a detailed knowledge of lawyers all around the world, but Leaders in Law has painstakingly put together a database of lawyers in 120 different countries and covering 42 different areas of law. Our selection process is so rigorous you can be assured that you will find a Leader in Law with maximum expertise.” With more than 700 attorneys selected for inclusion worldwide, there are currently just four franchise lawyers who have been recognized as Leaders in Law. Along with Mr. Goldstein in the United States, these prestigiously-selected attorneys are located in France, Kuwait and Azerbaijan. About Jeffrey M. Goldstein Jeffrey M. Goldstein is a globally-recognized franchise lawyer who has spent the last three decades exclusively representing franchisees and dealers. The Goldstein Law Firm is […]


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Women in Franchising: Notable Statistics on Female Franchisees

September 29, 2017

Earlier this year, Franchise Times reported the results of a study conducted by Franchise Business Review which examined the rising trend of female franchise ownership. The article highlights some interesting statistics, and it shows just how big of a role female franchisees play in current success and the projected future growth of the franchise industry. Here are some of the most noteworthy numbers from the survey: 63,000 According to Franchise Times, female franchisees earn an average income of $63,000 per year. 6,400 Franchise Business Review surveyed 6,400 female franchisees, representing only a portion of the female franchise owners operating today. 85 85 percent of female franchisees said they would recommend their brands to others considering franchise opportunities. 84 84 percent of female franchisees said that they respected their franchisors; however, only 80 percent said that they believed their franchisors acted “with a high level of integrity.” 74 According to Franchise Business Review, 74 percent of female franchisees say they would “do it again” knowing what they now know as a result of their experience in the franchise industry. 60 Sixty percent of female franchisees surveyed had a bachelor’s degree or higher. Seventeen percent held an associate’s degree, and 20 percent reported having only a high school education. 58 Just over half of female franchisees reported that their franchised businesses are meeting their financial expectations. 51 Child services is the only franchise sector in which the majority of franchise owners (51 percent) are women. Travel and hospitality has an even split […]


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When is the Right Time to Sue Your Franchisor?

September 27, 2017

When you purchased your franchise, you never expected to in up in court. You did your due diligence, you read the statistics saying that most franchisees were satisfied with their businesses, and you were confident that you could make your franchised outlet a success. If your franchise is struggling, you are not alone. Building a successful business is not easy, and many franchisees find out that their relationships with their franchisors ultimately do more harm than good. As a result, they end up looking for a way out before their franchise agreement expires, and this often means exploring their options for litigation. Franchise Dissatisfaction: When Should Franchisees Take Legal Action? Of course, even under the most contentious of circumstances, full-blown courtroom litigation is generally a means of last resort. There are more-amicable alternatives available, and these will often offer more cost-effective and mutually-beneficial opportunities for resolution. That said, the issues that spur alternative dispute resolution (ADR) methods and litigation are generally the same, and dissatisfied franchisees should take the time to gain a clear understanding of all of the options that are on the table. If you are facing a dispute with your franchisor or seeking a way to terminate your franchise, the following are some examples of some potential grounds for legal action: State and federal disclosure violations, including inaccurate or incomplete information in a Franchise Disclosure Document (FDD) Imposition of illegal price-fixing arrangements and other illegal competitive restrictions Improper refusal to renew or consent to transfer of a […]


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Recent Blogs on Franchise, Dealership and Antitrust Law

Own ‘Em All or Franchise ‘Em Out?

Nov 14, 2017

Own 'em all or franchise 'em out? Or, do some of each, and...


Read More

Goldstein Law Firm Selected for Exclusive Membership in Leaders in Law

Oct 30, 2017

We are pleased to announce that firm founder Jeffrey M. Goldstein has...


Read More

Women in Franchising: Notable Statistics on Female Franchisees

Sep 29, 2017

Earlier this year, Franchise Times reported the results of a study...


Read More

When is the Right Time to Sue Your Franchisor?

Sep 27, 2017

When you purchased your franchise, you never expected to in up in court....


Read More
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

Top Franchise Litigator for Franchisees and Dealers

Top Franchise Litigator for Franchisees and Dealers

2017 Finance Monthly Award

2017 Finance Monthly Award