Monthly Archives: July 2020

Ultimate Guide to Franchise Litigation for Franchisees – Part 3

Jul 31, 2020 - Blog by |

What Can You Expect in Mediation, Arbitration or Litigation? In Parts 1 and 2 of our Ultimate Guide to Franchise Litigation for Franchisees, we covered common issues in franchise litigation and common franchise agreement provisions that can impact franchisees’ rights during the dispute resolution process. In Part 3, we are covering what you can expect when you hire a franchise attorney to represent you in mediation, arbitration or litigation against your franchisor. Mediation and Arbitration: Two Very Different Forms of ADR While mediation and arbitration are often lumped together as forms of alternative dispute resolution (ADR), the reality is that these are very different proceedings. With mediation, there is no guarantee that the process will lead to a resolution. Instead, the parties negotiate with the help of a neutral third-party mediator, and they try to find a way to come to terms. In arbitration, however, the arbitrator’s role is to hear the parties’ evidence and then render a final decision. This decision is usually binding (as stipulated in the parties’ franchise agreement), although it may be possible to challenge the arbitrator’s decision in court in some cases. Mediation and arbitration both involve scheduled sessions at which the parties appear with their legal counsel. In mediation, these are essentially guided negotiation sessions, with the mediator serving to help keep the parties’ negotiations focused and offer potential compromise solutions. In arbitration, the parties will engage in some form of limited discovery beforehand, and then they will take turns presenting their evidence to […]

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Ultimate Guide to Franchise Litigation for Franchisees – Part 2

Jul 24, 2020 - Blog by |

What are the Relevant Provisions of Your Franchise Agreement? As with virtually all aspects of franchise ownership, when facing a dispute with your franchisor, one of the first things you need to do is review the relevant terms of your franchise agreement. Franchise agreements almost universally contain several terms that apply specifically to litigation and dispute resolution, and you will want to work closely with a franchise lawyer to make sure you understand how your franchise agreement impacts the options you have available. Does Your Franchise Agreement Contain a Mandatory ADR Clause? Many franchise agreements contain clauses that require the parties to submit most (but not all) disputes to mediation or arbitration. When franchisors include these provisions in their franchise agreements, they do so not because alternative dispute resolution (ADR) offers a level playing field, but because they believe that they can benefit from the process. Generally, mandatory ADR clauses apply to all franchisee-initiated disputes, and they apply to some disputes initiated by franchisors. Typically, disputes regarding franchisees’ payment obligations, unauthorized use of the franchisor’s trademarks and proprietary information, and other similar types of disputes are excepted. When mediation or arbitration is required, then pursuing mediation or arbitration will be a necessary precursor to pursuing litigation—assuming the mandatory ADR clause is enforceable. Where Does Your Franchise Agreement Require Disputes to Be Resolved? Franchise agreements also generally include jurisdiction and venue clauses that specify where mediation and arbitration must take place and where lawsuits need to be filed. Typically, this is […]

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Liberty Tax Franchisee Represented by GLF Wins in Post-Term Covenant Case in Federal Court

Jul 21, 2020 - Judge’s Distribution and Franchise Rulings from the Front Lines by |

Liberty Tax Loses Preliminary Injunction to Former Liberty Franchisee Regarding Enforcement of Post-Term Restriction Liberty Tax Franchisee Represented by GLF Wins in Post-Term Covenant Case in Federal Court ——————————————————— UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT WESTERN DISTRICT OF WASHINGTON AT TACOMA JTH TAX LLP, doing business as Liberty Tax Service , Plaintiff, v. MARK KELLY, Defendant. CASE NO. C20-5484RJB ORDER ON MOTION FOR TEMPORARY RESTRAINING ORDER AND PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION JULY 6, 2020 THIS MATTER comes before the Court on the Plaintiff’s Motion for Temporary Restraining Order and Preliminary Injunction (Dkt. 14). The Court is familiar with the file and all documents filed in support of and in opposition to the motion. DISCUSSION This is a business dispute. The facts are sharply in dispute. It is inappropriate, and not justified by the record, for the Court to preliminarily takes a side now for the following reasons: The Court is unable to determine that Plaintiff is likely to succeed on the merits; It does not appear that Plaintiff is likely to suffer irreparable harm in the absence of preliminary relief. If Plaintiff’s position ultimately prevails, monetary damages should adequately recompense Plaintiff. Nothing in the parties’ contract trumps this conclusion; The balance of equities is as hazy as is Plaintiff’s likelihood of success; A preliminary injunction or restraining order is not shown to be in the public interest. Particularly, third party taxpayers’ interests have not been successfully shown to be at risk under the status quo. For these reasons, Plaintiff’s Motion for Temporary Restraining Order […]

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Virtual Healthcare Franchisee’s Fraud Claims Based on Franchisor’s Financials Must be Reasserted

Jul 20, 2020 - Franchise, Dealer & Antitrust Decisions in One Sentence by |

Virtual Healthcare Franchisee’s Fraud Claims Based on Franchisor’s Financials Must be Reasserted  A virtual healthcare franchisee’s common law fraud claim that the franchisor of a cloud-based marketplace for telehealth services fraudulently induced the franchisee to invest in the franchise and in so doing also violated the anti-fraud provision of the New York Franchise Sales Act (NYFSA) based on statements allegedly made at a Franchise Expo regarding future performance were mere puffery under Missouri law, and to the extent other similar claims were based on the franchisor’s misrepresentations made during the negotiations and execution of the parties’ franchise agreement (including specific representations about future revenue and expense ‘projections’), the allegations were insufficient to sufficiently identify which individual defendants made which statements; further, issues of fact remained as to whether the franchisee’s alleged reliance on the representations made by the defendants was reasonable.  CHARLES FABIUS, ET AL., PLAINTIFFS V. MEDINEXO USA, LLC, ET AL., DEFENDANTS, U.S. District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division. No. 4:19CV2526 JCH. Dated April 3, 2020  ———————————————–  Excerpts from case:   DISCUSSION  Fraud In The Inducement  As noted above, in Count III of their Complaint Plaintiffs assert a claim for fraud in the inducement. (Compl., ¶¶ 86-92). Specifically, Plaintiffs allege as follows: In the initial meeting between Mr. Fabius and defendants Toro and Adelman, the defendants made several false, misleading and fraudulent statements and representations of material facts to him, including unsupported statements about the potential earning capacity as a [] Medinexo franchisee. Subsequently during the negotiation of the […]

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Connecticut Federal Court Rules for Franchisee and Strikes Unfair Floating Forum Selection Clause

Jul 18, 2020 - Franchise, Dealer & Antitrust Decisions in One Sentence by |

Connecticut Federal Court Rules for Franchisee and Strikes Unfair Floating Forum Selection Clause The United States District Court for the District of Connecticut has ruled that a franchisee of Doctors Express who purchased the exclusive rights to develop and manage Doctors Express Urgent Care franchises in two counties in New York and Connecticut was permitted to sue the franchisor in a court in Connecticut despite a forum selection clause in the agreement requiring that the litigation be filed in Alabama since the forum selection clause could not be presumed enforceable, because it was not reasonably communicated to the franchisee that he agreed to file suit in the jurisdiction where a future assignee of Doctors Express was based and because enforcement by that assignee, AFC Franchising, LLC, was not sufficiently foreseeable to him; accordingly, it would be “unfair, unjust, and unreasonable” to hold the franchisee to a clause that did not provide sufficient notice as to the forum being selected. DANILO PURUGGANAN, PLAINTIFF V. AFC FRANCHISING, LLC, DEFENDANT, Bus. Franchise Guide (CCH) P 16657 (C.C.H.), 2020 WL 3274207 (May 13, 2020)   —————————————————– Excerpt of Court’s Decision:   Because the Defendant’s motion turns on the interpretation and enforceability of the MDA’s forum selection clause, as indicated above, the Court’s assessment of the four inquiries set forth by the Second Circuit supplants the traditional inquiry undertaken in a forum non conveniens analysis. Federal common law governs the fourth inquiry, and the Second Circuit has assumed without deciding that federal common law likewise applies to the first inquiry. Starkey […]

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Ultimate Guide to Franchise Litigation for Franchisees – Part 1

Jul 17, 2020 - Blog by |

What are the Grounds for Initiating Franchise Litigation? When you bought your franchise, you did not expect to end up with litigation with your franchisor. But, an issue has come up and there does not seem to be any other alternative, and you need to consider all of your options for protecting your investment. In this Ultimate Guide to Franchise Litigation for Franchisees, attorney Jeffrey M. Goldstein provides an overview of what franchisees need to know when facing contentious disputes with their franchisors. Here in Part 1, Mr. Goldstein covers the types of issues that tend to lead to litigation, with insights based on his 30-plus years of experience as a franchise litigation attorney exclusively representing franchisees. Common Issues in Franchise Litigation While there are numerous issues that can lead to litigation between franchisors and franchisees, some issues tend to come up more frequently than others. This includes issues that cause franchisors to initiate litigation against their franchisees, as well as issues that force franchisees to take action in order to try to save their franchises—or at least recoup as much of their initial investment as possible. On the franchisor side, some of the issues that most-commonly trigger the decision to take legal action against franchisees include: Non-payment of royalties or advertising fund contributions Non-payment of liquidated damages or “lost future royalties” post-termination Repeatedly operating outside of a franchisee’s designated territory Failing to adhere to system standards (either repeatedly or in a manner that represents a significant departure from the […]

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Should You Hire a Franchise Consultant to Help You Buy a Franchise?

Jul 10, 2020 - Blog by |

Buying a franchise is a big decision that requires a substantial investment, and there is a significant amount of risk involved. As a result, regardless of your background and experience, you are going to want help along the way. You know that you need to hire a franchise attorney to review the Franchise Disclosure Document (FDD) and help you negotiate the franchise agreement, but should you hire a franchise consultant as well? What Should You Look for in a Franchise Consultant? For many prospective franchisees, hiring a franchise consultant will be a good option. If you need help with things like budgeting and site selection, an experienced franchise consultant will be able to provide a lot of value as you work toward opening your franchise. If you believe that you could benefit from working with a franchise consultant, here are some factors to consider when choosing someone to advise you: Franchise Industry Experience – The franchise industry is unique in many respects; and, in order to advise you effectively, a franchise consultant will need to have deep industry experience. Ideally, he or she will have past experience as a successful franchisee or as a franchisor executive. Objectivity – When working with a franchise consultant, you need to be confident that he or she is providing objective advice. If it feels like a consultant is steering you toward a particular franchise opportunity, you will want to make sure this is based on an assessment of your best interests and not other […]

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