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Washington DC Franchise Attorneys

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

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

Lawyer Distinctions award
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)

Top Franchise Lawyers Who Only 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 franchise attorneys have as much as 30 years of experience handling all aspects of franchise litigation throughout the county.

Comprehensive Franchise Law Firm for Franchise Agreements, Reviews, Litigation & More

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, our franchise lawyers 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 Law Firm are on the side of the franchisee. Our attorneys 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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Don’t Overlook These Five Important Legal Issues When Buying a Franchise

October 30, 2020

If you are thinking about buying a franchise, you know that you need to make an informed investment decision, and you know that you need to go into your franchise opportunity eyes wide open. But, do you know what this actually entails? While most prospective franchisees have a general idea of the financial risks involved with buying a franchise, far fewer have an appreciation of the legal risks that have the potential to place their entire investment in jeopardy. What kinds of legal risks are we talking about? Here are five important legal issues not to overlook when pursuing a franchise opportunity: Issue #1: Inadequate Territorial Protections What is your understanding with regard to your territorial rights? Are you to receive an “exclusive” or “protected” territory? If so, what do these terms really mean? While lots of franchisors offer their franchisees some form of...


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Florida Federal Court Rejects Franchise Lawyers’ Fee Request as ‘Too High’

October 29, 2020

FLORIDA FEDERAL COURT REJECTS FRANCHISE LAWYERS’ FEE REQUEST AS ‘TOO HIGH’ In a recent franchise case in Florida, a federal district court refused to grant the fees requested by the franchisee lawyers’ in their fee petition because the franchisee lawyers’ fees were “too high” when viewed against the rates charged by other lawyers in the area who are experienced in complex litigation; in slashing the lawyers’ requested fees by almost 40% across the board, the court stated: “The case at bar was not complex, and Defendant Childress won on the basis of default [with the other side not putting up a defense].” Drone Nerds Franchising Llc v. Childress United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida October 7, 2020, Decided; October 7, 2020, Entered on Docket Case No. 19-CV-61153-RUIZ/STRAUSS Excerpts of the Case: REPORT AND...


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Franchise Times Releases Its “Top 200+” Franchises for 2020

October 16, 2020

On September 28, 2020, the Franchise Times released its list of the “Top 200+” franchises for 2020. The article announcing the release begins with a sobering proviso: “[T]his year’s Franchise Times Top 200+ may be the last look at the old world before 2020 results change everything.” As the International Franchise Association (IFA) recently reported, the franchise industry has been hit hard by the COVID-19 crisis, with more than 32,000 franchises closing in just the past six months. But, since the Franchise Times’ current Top 200+ list is based on 2019 data, the figures look pretty good. Franchise sales grew significantly last year, while the biggest brands in franchising continued to get even bigger: “Based on 2019 systemwide sales, franchising’s strongest brands gained strength, emerging hot brands kept bringing the heat and brands on the decline continued to...


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International Franchise Association (IFA): The COVID-19 Crisis is Having a Major Impact on the Franchise Industry

October 2, 2020

A recent article from the International Franchise Association (IFA) sheds light on the significant impact that the COVID-19 crisis has had on the franchise industry over the past six months. The article, which relies on a report prepared by FRANdata, concludes by quoting the organization’s President and CEO as stating that, “COVID-19 has caused a staggering amount of business closures and layoffs across franchise businesses. . . . Additional broad-based and long-term Congressional action is desperately needed to stave off additional closures and layoffs, particularly for the hardest-hit businesses.” The COVID-19 Crisis’s Impact on the Franchise Industry The IFA’s article reports that in the first six months of the COVID-19 crisis, “[m]ore than 1.4 million franchise jobs [have been] lost, and more than 32,000 franchise businesses have closed.” This includes nearly 11,000...


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Attorney Jeffrey M. Goldstein Named “2020 Power Lawyer” by Lawyers of Distinction

September 29, 2020

The Goldstein Law Firm is pleased to announce that founding attorney Jeffrey M. Goldstein has been named to Lawyers of Distinction’s “2020 Power Lawyers”. This is Mr. Goldstein’s second year in a row being selected for inclusion on this prestigious list, whose members are selected based upon a patented review and vetting process performed by Lawyers of Distinction’s Selection Committee. Lawyers of Distinction announced the “2020 Power Lawyers” in the September 6 edition of The New York Times. Mr. Goldstein is One of Only 55 Lawyers Nationwide Recognized with This Award Mr. Goldstein is one of only 55 lawyers nationwide selected for inclusion in the “2020 Power Lawyers”. More importantly, he is the only lawyer chosen for inclusion in the practice area of Antitrust & Franchise Litigation. In the vast majority of other practice areas, multiple lawyers were...


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Recent Blogs on Franchise, Dealership and Antitrust Law

Don’t Overlook These Five Important Legal Issues When Buying a Franchise

Oct 30, 2020

If you are thinking about buying a franchise, you know that you need to...


Read More

Franchise Times Releases Its “Top 200+” Franchises for 2020

Oct 16, 2020

On September 28, 2020, the Franchise Times released its list of the “Top...


Read More

International Franchise Association (IFA): The COVID-19 Crisis is Having a Major Impact on the Franchise Industry

Oct 2, 2020

A recent article from the International Franchise Association (IFA) sheds...


Read More

Attorney Jeffrey M. Goldstein Named “2020 Power Lawyer” by Lawyers of Distinction

Sep 29, 2020

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


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...

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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