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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 - 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

Q&A With Firm Founder Jeffrey M. Goldstein

May 22, 2019

Jeffrey M. Goldstein, founder of the Goldstein Law Firm, has been practicing franchise law for more than 30 years. Exclusively representing franchisees and dealers, he has successfully represented clients across the country in franchise agreement negotiations, arbitration, litigation and other franchise-related legal matters. Here, he sits down for a Q&A session to discuss some of the biggest legal risks facing new and existing franchisees: Q: What are some of the most-important legal factors to consider when buying or operating a franchise? In addition to facing the same legal risks as all business owners, franchisees face a number of additional risks as well. These risks relate predominantly to the rights granted to the franchisor under the franchise agreement. From operating standards to franchise transfer and renewal, franchisors have a say in virtually all aspects of franchisees’ businesses, and they will not hesitate to intervene (or even terminate a franchisee) when they believe that doing so is in the best interests of the franchise system as a whole. Q: How can prospective franchisees protect themselves before signing a franchise agreement? As a prospective franchisee, there are two primary ways to protect yourself before you sign a franchise agreement: (i) conducting thorough due diligence, and (ii) negotiating the terms of your franchise. By gathering as much information as you can from as many sources as possible, you can gain confidence in your decision to move forward (or to pursue a different path). Once you decide to pursue a particular franchise opportunity, then negotiating […]


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Special Considerations for Purchasing an Automotive Franchise

May 17, 2019

Whether you love cars or you are looking for a recession-resistant franchise with the potential for repeat business and a high sales volume, buying an automotive franchise presents both opportunities and risks. From seeing your customers every 3,000 miles to facing lawsuits when your customers’ cars break down and cause accidents, there are numerous factors that can increase both profit potential and liability exposure for automotive franchise owners. Here are four important legal considerations for purchasing an automotive franchise: 1. Liability for Employees’ Mistakes For automotive service franchises, such as oil change centers and repair shops, hiring well-trained and highly-skilled employees is of critical importance. When it comes to working on cars, trucks and SUVs, even minor mistakes can have drastic consequences. If one of your employees under-torques a drain plug or fails to properly bleed a customer’s brakes and the customer gets injured (or injures someone else) in an accident as a result, then your franchise could be in the line of fire. In addition to thoroughly vetting service employees, purchasing adequate insurance coverage can be critical to protecting an automotive franchise from business-threatening liability. Insurance policies should be crafted to meet the unique needs of the franchise, including both coverage limits and covered perils. 2. “Chain of Distribution” for Mandatory Products and Suppliers As a retail business, your automotive franchise will be in the “chain of distribution” for purposes of the law of product liability. This means that, if you sell a defective product that ends up causing […]


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7 Essential Steps for Buying a Franchise

April 30, 2019

When buying a franchise, you are required to make a long-term investment decision based upon imperfect information. You cannot predict the future, and this means that you have no way of knowing whether you will ultimately succeed as a franchisee. However, what you can do is take steps to ensure that you are making as informed a decision as possible. Here are seven steps that will help you make an informed buying decision: 1. Submit a Franchise Application With most franchisors, the buying process starts when you submit a franchise application. While there is a good chance that your application will be approved, even this early stage in the process can tell you a lot about the franchisor. Did the application ask for relevant information? Did it appear to be a template, or was it custom-tailored to the franchise? How quickly and thoroughly did the franchisor respond to your questions and requests for additional information? Were you provided with a current copy of the Franchise Disclosure Document (FDD) and franchise agreement, and were you asked to sign a receipt? 2. Assess the Financial Viability of the Franchise Opportunity The FDD and franchise agreement should provide information about many (but not all) of the initial and ongoing costs of franchise ownership. At this point, you should prepare a pro forma and consider whether you will need to apply for financing from the Small Business Administration (SBA), a private lender or another funding source. 3. Hire an Attorney to Review the FDD […]


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Setting Reasonable Expectations as a Prospective Franchisee

April 26, 2019

As a prospective franchisee, it is important to set reasonable expectations. On the one hand, you do not want to expect too much and set yourself up for disappointment (or failure). On the other, you do not want to expect so little that you fail to give adequate consideration to the legal risks (and opportunities) involved with buying a franchise. 1. Franchise Agreement Negotiations Reasonable: Negotiating Overly One-Sided Provisions of the Franchise Agreement Let’s start with negotiating your franchise agreement. Yes, you can negotiate; and, yes, most franchisors will consider reasonable requests to modify the overly one-sided provisions of their agreements. For example, if your agreement contains a non-compete clause, you may be able to negotiate a carveout that allows you to start or work for a company relying on the skills you acquired before you acquired your franchise. Unreasonable: Negotiating System-Wide Standards and Terms However, most franchisors will not consider negotiating the standards that they apply to franchisees on a system-wide basis – think mandatory suppliers and obligations to comply with the Operations Manual. Negotiating these types of provisions could make managing the franchise system untenable; and, as a result, requests for modification will usually be non-starters. 2. Franchise Due Diligence Reasonable: Gathering Information from Current and Former Franchisees When conducting your due diligence, you can expect to receive valuable information from current and former franchisees. The types of information they provide may be different (for example, former franchisees may be more willing to speak negatively of the franchisor), […]


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5 Special Considerations for Purchasing a Business or Financial Services Franchise

April 19, 2019

If your background is in finance, tax, marketing or business administration, owning a franchise may be compelling for a couple of different reasons. Not only could owning a franchise mean running and managing your own business, but it could also mean using your background and experience to help other individuals and businesses. Depending upon exactly what you are looking for, there are a variety of different franchise opportunities available in the business and financial services sectors. Of course, all of these franchise opportunities present different risks, and choosing the best franchise for your individual circumstances requires thorough due diligence and a careful assessment of the Franchise Disclosure Document (FDD) and franchise agreement. For prospective business and financial services franchisees, here are five special considerations to keep in mind: 1. Approved Products and Services For many people, one of the appealing aspects of buying a franchise is having access to an approved (and presumably well-vetted) list of products and services. However, as a professional service provider, this may not necessarily fit your goals. Will you be comfortable limiting your product or service offerings based upon what the franchisor allows? Might you feel hamstrung by not being able to offer a full suite of services based upon your personal background and experience? These are issues that could significantly impact your level of satisfaction as a franchise owner. 2. Professional Liability (Errors and Omissions) If you will be providing professional advice to individuals or businesses, you may need to factor premiums for professional […]


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Recent Blogs on Franchise, Dealership and Antitrust Law

Q&A With Firm Founder Jeffrey M. Goldstein

May 22, 2019

Jeffrey M. Goldstein, founder of the Goldstein Law Firm, has been...


Read More

Special Considerations for Purchasing an Automotive Franchise

May 17, 2019

Whether you love cars or you are looking for a recession-resistant...


Read More

7 Essential Steps for Buying a Franchise

Apr 30, 2019

When buying a franchise, you are required to make a long-term investment...


Read More

Setting Reasonable Expectations as a Prospective Franchisee

Apr 26, 2019

As a prospective franchisee, it is important to set reasonable...


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

Reformist Thoughts on Franchise, Dealership, Distribution and Antitrust Law

April 11, 2018

2017 Best Franchise Litigators -- USA By Jeffrey M. Goldstein  Over my 30 years of...

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

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