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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

You Lost Your Job. Is it Time to Buy a Franchise?

February 20, 2019

Forbes.com recently published an article titled, “Laid Off? Why Now Could Be the Best Time to Franchise.” The article discusses some of the potential benefits of franchise ownership, and it provides an introduction to some of the financial considerations involved in choosing between various franchise opportunities. Losing a job is an event that causes many people to re-examine their priorities; and, to be sure, buying a franchise is one option that is available. However, before committing to any particular franchise opportunity (or franchise ownership in general), it is important to critically assess your goals, skills and financial circumstances in light of the realities involved. 1. Buying a Franchise is a Long-Term Commitment Buying a franchise typically means committing to a contractual relationship for two, three, five or ten years. Even if you find a work-from-home franchise that allows you to open for business relatively quickly, buying a franchise is not a short-term solution to being out of work. The decision to buy a franchise should be made based upon a sincere desire to run your own business within the confines of the franchise structure and should not be triggered by any one single event. 2. Buying a Franchise Requires Access to Capital When you buy a franchise, you need to pay the franchisor’s initial franchise fee, you need to cover the expenses involved in establishing your business (which can range from tens of thousands to millions of dollars), and you need to have a capital reserve to fund your business […]


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IFA Announces Partnership with National LGBT Chamber of Commerce

February 15, 2019

The International Franchise Association (IFA), the “world’s oldest and largest organization representing franchising worldwide,” recently announced a partnership with the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC). According to the IFA, the goal of the partnership is, “to further the organizations’ shared missions of creating business opportunities for all Americans and cultivating diversity and inclusion within the franchising industry . . . [and the] partnership is NGLCC’s first programmatic partnership with a trade association.” As a result of the partnership, the IFA will also be recognized as a Trade Association Sponsor by the National Business Inclusion Consortium (NBIC), which is a coalition of diverse business organizations including the NGLCC, the United States Black Chambers, Inc., Disability:IN (formerly USBLN), the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, the United States Pan Asian American Chamber of Commerce, WEConnect International, and the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council. In a statement, NGLCC President Justin Nelson stated that the partnership will “bring [] LGBT franchise owners one step closer to having their voices heard and securing the LGBT business community an equitable seat at the table.” About the International Franchise Association (IFA) The IFA is perhaps the most well-known membership organization in the franchising industry. It works to promote the interests of the franchise industry through education, advocacy and government relations, and its members include franchisors, franchisees and suppliers. More information can be found at franchise.org. About the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC) The NGLCC is an advocacy organization that promotes diversity and inclusion for lesbian, […]


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Special Considerations for Purchasing a Child-Related Franchise

February 13, 2019

If you love working with children and want to be your own boss, buying a child-related franchise may seem like the perfect fit. After all, who wouldn’t want to hit the ground running with a recognized brand and a business format that has proven effective at tens – if not hundreds – of locations around the country? While buying a franchise certainly can offer these benefits, not all franchise opportunities are created equal, and owning a franchise presents certain unique challenges as well. Providing child-related services also presents some unique risks; and, as a franchisee, you can expect to bear full responsibility if something goes wrong. If you are thinking about buying a child-related franchise, here are some of the key legal considerations you will want to keep in mind: 1. Liability (and Insurance) Working with children or providing services to children inherently presents liability risks that are not present for other types of businesses. Children cannot legally waive liability, so you will need to make sure their parents do so on their behalf. While your franchisor should provide a waiver form that contains the necessary language: (i) this language may or may not be enforceable in your state; and, (ii) it will be up to you to ensure that all parents sign before dropping their children off at the door. As a result, you should have the waiver form reviewed by an attorney, and you should be sure that you have a system in place for securing parent signatures […]


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Should Franchisees Foot the Bill for Franchise Remodeling and System Standards Modifications?

February 3, 2019

Should Franchisees Foot the Bill for Franchise Remodeling and System Standards Modifications? By: Jeffrey M. Goldstein Franchise remodeling disputes have recently littered the franchise litigation landscape; but this is nothing new. The source of conflict in franchise remodeling disputes is not the ‘control’ issue (e.g., whether franchisees, not franchisors, should exercise final control over the type and amount of the franchisee’s business investments). Instead, the essence of the discord (at least from a static franchisee perspective) is whether a proposed or required remodeling is ‘worth it’ from a dollars and cents point of view. No more, no less. This same conflict that underlies remodeling disputes appears repeatedly in the franchise arena and also undergirds disputes associated with all significant franchise system modifications. Some of the more notable franchise system modifications that regularly give rise to disputes and litigation include menu item changes, new price ‘value programs’, price caps or maximum pricing, distribution channel supplementation, new computer system swaps and new marketing programs. If franchisees were able to trust the business decision-making acumen, motivations and goals of their franchisors, clashes regarding remodeling, like most other significant franchising disputes, would tend to be a ‘non-issues.’ And, of course, if franchisors had a track record of making globally rewarding investment decisions, such trust, as well as an efficient means for resolving breaches of that trust, would already exist. Most franchisees, to the extent they are good businessmen, merely attempt to ensure that each of their franchise-related investments – not just remodeling – reaps […]


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Why Doesn’t My Franchisor Want Me to Renew?

January 31, 2019

Your franchise agreement is about to expire. You have reviewed the renewal conditions in your franchise agreement, and you are pretty sure that you have done everything that is required in order to extend your franchise for another term. So, why does your franchisor seem to be the only thing standing in the way? There are a few potential reasons why your franchisor may not want to renew your franchise agreement. Understanding these reasons will help you make informed decisions about your next steps forward. 3 Reasons Why Franchisors Try to Prevent Renewal Although individual circumstances can vary, there are three primary reasons why a franchisor may not want to grant a renewal term to a particular franchisee. These reasons are: To Grant the Territory to a More-Favored Franchisee – Whether you have struggled to consistently meet your royalty and advertising fee obligations, an existing (and more profitable franchisee) has expressed interest in your franchise, or a new prospect is interested in your territory and appears to be more attractive franchise owner, your franchisor may be trying to remove you from the system in order to make room for a more-favored franchisee. To Take Over Your Territory for Itself – If your territory has been particularly profitable, your franchisor may want to take over the territory for itself. It may be that your franchisor wants to let your franchise agreement expire so that it can open a new company-owned location. To Offer an Area Development Agreement to a Larger Franchisee […]


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Recent Blogs on Franchise, Dealership and Antitrust Law

You Lost Your Job. Is it Time to Buy a Franchise?

Feb 20, 2019

Forbes.com recently published an article titled, “Laid Off? Why Now Could...


Read More

IFA Announces Partnership with National LGBT Chamber of Commerce

Feb 15, 2019

The International Franchise Association (IFA), the “world's oldest and...


Read More

Special Considerations for Purchasing a Child-Related Franchise

Feb 13, 2019

If you love working with children and want to be your own boss, buying a...


Read More

Why Doesn’t My Franchisor Want Me to Renew?

Jan 31, 2019

Your franchise agreement is about to expire. You have reviewed the renewal...


Read More
Solutions franchise blog image

Reformist Thoughts on Franchise, Dealership, Distribution and Antitrust Law

2017 Best Franchise Litigators

April 11, 2018

2017 Best Franchise Litigators -- USA By Jeffrey M. Goldstein  Over my 30 years of practice I’ve from time to time been asked by clients “if we hadn’t chosen you as our litigator, which lawyers would you have recommended that we had chosen to litigate our case?” Just again two...


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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