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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

5 Considerations for Buying a Franchise in 2019

January 23, 2019

Whether you are an experienced franchise owner or you are thinking about leaving your full-time job to enter the world of franchising, buying a franchise in 2019 presents some unique legal and practical considerations. Before you sign a franchise agreement, here are five important factors to keep in mind: Factors to Consider Before Buying a Franchise 1. Franchise Openings, Closings and Projections Franchisors are required to update their Franchise Disclosure Documents (FDDs) annually to reflect new openings and closings and to provide updated projections for the coming year. How old are the data in the FDD you received? While historical figures can still be useful, more-recent trends will give you a better idea of the current state of the franchise system. 2. Industry Factors Speaking of trends, while some franchise concepts have staying power, others seek to capitalize on trends in consumer behavior. The hottest franchise in 2018 may not have much viability in 2019, and the concepts that are popular now may not be popular in 2020. 3. Online Competition Consumers are increasingly turning to the Internet for retail purchases, and new delivery services are making it faster and easier to get everything from food to clothing (that you can try on and send back) at home. Additionally, as we recently discussed, Amazon is offering a $15 per hour entry-level wage, and this may make it harder for franchisees to attract quality employees as well. 4. Franchise Agreement Terms From arbitration to indemnification, franchisors are constantly finding new ways […]


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Special Considerations for Purchasing a Pet-Related Franchise

January 18, 2019

According to Franchise Direct, the pet franchise industry is growing rapidly. With pet owners spending around $70 billion annually, buying into a pet-related franchise may seem like a smart investment. But, whether you are interested in opening a brick-and-mortar “pet hotel” or retail outlet, operating a mobile pet grooming franchise, or walking dogs in your local neighborhood, there are some important legal factors to consider, and rushing into a franchise opportunity could prove to be a costly mistake. Important Legal Considerations for Purchasing a Pet-Related Franchise Before you buy a pet-related franchise, here are some important legal considerations to keep in mind: 1. Liability to Clients If you will be providing training, walking, grooming, or hospitality services, what are your responsibilities while you have custody of your clients’ pets? What if an animal gets sick while in your care; or, what if one client’s pet attacks another’s? While your franchisor should provide guidance for addressing these types of issues, do not expect your franchisor to assume liability if your franchise gets sued. This is true even if an animal gets sick or injured to your use of franchisor-mandated products or supplies. 2. Liability to Others In a similar vein, what happens if a client’s pet attacks someone else? For example, what if a client’s dog escapes off-leash or you lose control of a dog during a walk, and the dog bites a passer-by? Once again, your franchisor is not going to assume responsibility; so, should you? Are you prepared to […]


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How Much Does It Cost to Buy a Franchise?

January 16, 2019

A recent article on FranchiseDirect.com seeks to answer the question, “How much does it cost to buy a franchise?” by comparing the startup costs for two very different franchise opportunities: a work-from-home travel agency and a 300-plus room high-end hotel. In doing so, it lists the Item 7 estimated initial investment disclosures from two Franchise Disclosure Documents (FDDs), which range from a low-end total of $3,245 to a top-end investment in excess of $64 million. While these may be franchisors’ actual published figures, they represent two different extremes. Most franchisees will need to initially invest amount that is somewhere in the middle, often somewhere roughly in the range of $50,000 to $100,000. Where to Find Information on Franchise Startup Costs When looking for information on franchise startup costs, Item 7 of the FDD is one place to look, but it should not be prospective franchisees’ only source of information. There are a number of reasons why. Most notably: Franchisors’ numbers in Item 7 are “estimates,” and they may or may not be based upon data gathered from franchised and company-owned openings. Startup costs can vary by geographic location. Real estate leases, licenses, permits and other necessities can all vary greatly in cost from one area to the next. The list of itemized expenses in Item 7 may or may not be complete. Franchisors may overlook or omit certain expenditures, or you may need to incur costs that are not common amongst other franchisees. Even franchisors’ high-end estimates will often be […]


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What Do Franchisees Need to Know about “Indemnification”?

December 31, 2018

Although indemnification clauses are ubiquitous in the franchise industry, indemnification is a legal concept that few franchisees, franchisors and even franchise attorneys truly understand. This is unfortunate, because it leads many franchisees to assume legal responsibility for liabilities that are far beyond their control, and it prevents many franchisors from negotiating reasonable concessions that would be no-brainers if they understood the terms of their own franchise agreements. What is Indemnification? So, what is indemnification? In its most basic form, indemnification is the oblation for one party to assume liability for a claim against another party. So, if Joe sues Jane and John has an obligation to indemnify Jane, if Joe wins, John is the one who is ultimately responsible. In a typical franchise agreement, the indemnification clause will look something like this: “Franchisee will fully indemnify and hold harmless Franchisor from and against any and all claims arising out of or relating to the Franchise, whether asserted during the term of the Franchise Agreement or after the Franchise Agreement expires.” This sounds reasonable enough, right? If a customer sues your franchisor for something that you did, doesn’t it make sense for you to be held liable? While a duty to indemnify may make sense in this particular scenario (although, even this may not necessarily be the case), there are plenty of other scenarios where the franchisor should be the one to indemnify. Most Franchise Agreement Indemnification Clauses are Overly Broad While you will be the face of your franchise and, […]


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5 Special Considerations for Purchasing a Senior Care Franchise

December 27, 2018

All franchise opportunities present certain legal issues. From your obligation to pay royalties to the franchisor’s right to terminate your franchise agreement, virtually all aspects of the franchise relationship have legal implications. In certain sectors, the nature of the business can give rise to legal concerns as well. Senior care is one of these sectors. What are Some Potential Legal Risks for Senior Care Franchise Owners? Whether you are considering an in-home care franchise, a medical staffing franchise, a franchise for a skilled nursing facility, or any other type of franchise focused on serving the elderly, it is important to have a clear understanding of the potential legal risks involved. Along with conducting your due diligence and negotiating your franchise agreement, this also means addressing the legal issues associated with: 1. Lease Negotiations If you will be leasing a senior care facility or administrative office space, it will be important to put as much effort into negotiating your lease as you put into negotiating your franchise agreement. Similar to franchise agreements, commercial lease agreements are often heavily one-sided; and, in addition to ensuring that you can use the space as you intend, you will also need to make sure that you have adequate protections so that you can remain in the space throughout the term of your franchise. 2. Hiring and Employment When hiring people who will be caring for seniors or who will have access to seniors’ places of residence, conducting adequate screening and background checks takes on heightened […]


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Recent Blogs on Franchise, Dealership and Antitrust Law

5 Considerations for Buying a Franchise in 2019

Jan 23, 2019

Whether you are an experienced franchise owner or you are thinking about...


Read More

Special Considerations for Purchasing a Pet-Related Franchise

Jan 18, 2019

According to Franchise Direct, the pet franchise industry is growing...


Read More

How Much Does It Cost to Buy a Franchise?

Jan 16, 2019

A recent article on FranchiseDirect.com seeks to answer the question,...


Read More

What Do Franchisees Need to Know about “Indemnification”?

Dec 31, 2018

Although indemnification clauses are ubiquitous in the franchise industry,...


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