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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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Buying a Franchise in the U.S. With an E-2 Visa: An Overview

February 26, 2021

For individuals who live in a treaty country and are thinking about starting or acquiring an existing franchise in the United States, one of the first steps is often to apply for an E-2 visa. The E-2 visa is available to foreign nationals who are prepared to invest “a substantial amount of capital” in a U.S.-based business. Due to the benefits that a franchise can offer, many foreign investors choose to pursue a franchise as a means for obtaining an E-2 visa. Here, franchise lawyer Jeffrey M. Goldstein provides an overview of the E-2 visa requirements as well as some other important considerations for buying a franchise in the United States. Who Qualifies for an E-2 Visa? The qualifications for obtaining an E-2 visa are available from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). E-2 visas are available to foreign citizens lawfully residing both within and outside of the...


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IFA Releases Annual Economic Outlook Report for 2021

February 24, 2021

The International Franchise Association (IFA) recently released its Annual Economic Outlook Report for 2021. As summarized on the IFA’s website, “The report offers an in-depth look into franchising’s growth trend following the economic fallout due to the COVID-19 pandemic . . . . [T]he report forecasts positive growth expected for franchise businesses in 2021, provided continued federal support, and suggests the potential to reach pre-pandemic levels of economic output by the end of the year.” Here, franchisee attorney Jeffrey M. Goldstein takes a look at some of the key data from the report. 1. FRANdata Anticipates Strong Resurgence in Franchise Openings Much of the information contained in the IFA’s report was provided by FRANdata. According to FRANdata, while the number of franchised establishments dropped by approximately 20,000 in 2020, nearly 30,000 are expected to open...


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Startup Burger Franchise Ordered to Offer Rescission and Full Restitution to Its Franchisees

February 19, 2021

On February 16, 2021, the California Department of Financial Protection and Innovation (DFPI) issued an order requiring Burgerim, a startup burger franchise, to offer rescission and full restitution to its franchisees. As reported by the Franchise Times, Burgerim sold 1,550 franchises over approximately five years, but only about 130 of its franchisees were ultimately able to open for business. As franchise lawyer Jeffrey M. Goldstein explains, Burgerim committed various disclosure violations and engaged in various other forms of improper conduct as well. Burgerim Ordered to Make Its Franchisees Whole In its order, the California DFPI said that Burgerim must offer rescission to all 1,550 of its franchisees and to, “financially place the franchisees in the position they were in before they entered into the franchise agreement.” Beyond refunding franchisees’ initial franchise fees,...


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Should You Buy a Franchise With an “On-Trend Brand”?

February 17, 2021

A recent article in the Franchise Times discusses the success of an emerging franchise system. In part, the article attributes the system’s success to having an “on-trend brand.” But, making a long-term investment in a franchise based on a trend isn’t necessarily the best decision—as trends can fade long before franchise agreements expire. With that said, if a trend is here to stay, then buying in could prove to be a smart investment. So, how do you decide? Here are some insights from franchisee lawyer Jeffrey M. Goldstein: Is the Trend Local? One important consideration is whether the trend is relevant to the geographic area in which you are planning to open a franchise. For example, the Franchise Times article focuses on the relevance of BurgerFi’s “on-trend brand” in Saudi Arabia. Specifically, the article notes the system’s use of “beef that is free of hormones,...


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It’s Time for Another “Franchise Top 10”: What Prospective Franchisees Need to Know About Franchise Reviews

February 12, 2021

It’s the time of year when many online publications release their annual lists of the “top” franchises. The Franchise Times is the latest to join the list, with its “10 Top Franchises to Buy” released on February 24. While franchise reviews like these can be informative in some respects, prospective franchisees need to take them with a grain of salt, and they need to make their own informed buying decisions based on thorough due diligence. The Franchise Times ‘Zor Awards for 2021 The Franchise Times’ “10 Top Franchises to Buy” list (which it also refers to as its ‘Zor Awards) are unique from other franchise reviews in that the publication chooses a “top” franchise in 10 different industry categories. These categories, and the ‘Zor Awards winners, are: Indulge Me (sweet snacks and deserts) – Duck Donuts beat out Bruster’s Real Ice Cream, Handel’s Ice...


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Recent Blogs on Franchise, Dealership and Antitrust Law

Buying a Franchise in the U.S. With an E-2 Visa: An Overview

Feb 26, 2021

For individuals who live in a treaty country and are thinking about...


Read More

IFA Releases Annual Economic Outlook Report for 2021

Feb 24, 2021

The International Franchise Association (IFA) recently released its Annual...


Read More

Startup Burger Franchise Ordered to Offer Rescission and Full Restitution to Its Franchisees

Feb 19, 2021

On February 16, 2021, the California Department of Financial Protection and...


Read More

Should You Buy a Franchise With an “On-Trend Brand”?

Feb 17, 2021

A recent article in the Franchise Times discusses the success of an...


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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Franchise and Dealer Renewals: Every Minute Counts in Texas to Classicalists 

January 18, 2021

Franchise and Dealer Renewals: Every Minute Counts in Texas to Classicalists By: Jeffrey M....

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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

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