Litigation & Dispute Resolution
Our two first-chair litigators tackle disputes around the country, in federal and state court, arbitration, and mediation.
Our services include:
Assessment and negotiation. We have the experience to judge each dispute on its own merits and to recommend negotiation, litigation, or alternative dispute resolution based on our assessment of the facts, witnesses, expected costs, and impact to the franchise system. Whenever possible, we try to head off expensive legal proceedings with innovative solutions and compromises. We have negotiated hundreds of settlements to achieve business objectives at reduced cost and litigation risk to both parties.
Filing suits to protect system integrity. Our litigators have challenged all sorts of behavior that threatens the integrity of a franchise system – failure to de-brand by terminated franchisees, noncompete violations, breakaway franchisees, royalty strikes, failure to comply with system-wide initiatives, sale of unapproved products, refusal to allow audits, trademark infringement by third parties, and raiding of franchisees by competitors, to name a few.
Defending against claims. We’ve defended franchisors against all of the types of claims typically asserted against them: breach of contract, fraud, violation of a franchise law, encroachment, lack of support, mismanagement of advertising funds, breach of good faith and fair dealing, unlawful purchasing restrictions, other antitrust violations (tying, resale price maintenance, price discrimination), tortious interference, racial discrimination, and vicarious liability. We’ve litigated disputes arising from the merger of franchise systems, from decisions not to renew franchise rights, and from attempts to transfer franchise ownership. We’ve fought class actions and challenges to contract provisions that specify how disputes will be handled.
Contract planning. We integrate continuously-updated advice from our litigators into our contract drafting for clients. We help you weigh the pros and cons of mandatory mediation and arbitration clauses in domestic and international agreements, as well as other optional dispute resolution provisions.
Caveat: We do not represent franchisees in litigation, because disputes might involve issues on which we are then advocating, or on which we have previously advocated, a “pro-franchisor” position in court or otherwise in public. We will not risk putting a franchisee client in a position where our prior publicly-stated positions could be used to the client’s detriment. Accordingly, for litigation, we believe it is necessary to stay on the franchisor side of the fence.