Handling Franchise Disputes
In a perfect world, franchisors and franchisees work together to maximize brand awareness for their mutual benefit, and everybody makes money. In reality, the close contractual relationship between the franchisor and its franchisees can give rise to serious disputes. We believe good lawyering involves finding thoughtful and proactive strategies to help our clients avoid conflicts before they become serious. When conflicts do arise, however, the need for top-level legal representation is never greater. Franchise law has its own idiosyncrasies and knowing them can make all the difference.
Franchise Arbitration & Mediation: Where Will You Settle the Dispute?
Franchise agreements will typically spell out the “rules” related to dispute resolution. These clauses are the starting point to understanding what lies ahead. If the agreement calls for arbitration, can a franchisor still be sued in state or federal court? Many disputes are won or lost on the fight over where to fight. We have arbitrated, litigated and mediated many franchise disputes on behalf of franchisees and franchisors on just about every issue imaginable. Don’t go into a dispute without experienced franchise legal counsel by your side.
Franchise Law May Vary by State
Many states have their own franchise dispute statutes that are designed to give franchisees more leverage to assert their claims. By way of example, most franchise agreements have a provision that predetermines in what state any dispute must be litigated (usually where the franchisor has its home office). Where a state franchise law applies, however, this provision may not be enforceable. Also, a state franchise law may allow the franchisee to assert claims that would otherwise not be available to it under common law. Knowing when and how these and other laws apply can mean the difference between winning and losing.
When a Party Doesn’t Stick to the Plan
As a business owner, you may run into a problem when someone you are dealing with doesn’t stick to the terms they agreed to in a contract. If left unresolved, your business could be threatened with losses or even extinction. If you have exhausted your options and are feeling frustrated, you may need to take legal action, especially if there has been a clear breach of contract. Many disputes can be resolved short of filing a lawsuit. However, even if a negotiated solution is your goal, you should always know your rights and be prepared to press your position.
Litigation Services for Ownership / Partnership Disputes
Unfortunately, if you own a business with others, there’s always a chance that your partnership could fall through. If you are involved in a dissolving partnership, corporation or an LLC or you are in a dispute with a fellow business owner, the attorneys at Spadea Lignana can help.
If you are at the point where you are ready to cut ties with your partners and/or other business owners, you need to be sure your rights are protected. The process isn’t an easy one, and like a couple divorcing, a business divorce can be an overly emotional process with a high level of mistrust between the parties. We have been through this process before. Our goal is to always look out for the best interest of our clients and to not allow the process to spiral out of control where only the attorneys walk away with the business assets.
Unfortunately, in many ownership disputes, the governance documents (the bylaws of a corporation or the LLC operating agreements) and non-existent or inadequate. Many entrepreneurs used online non-legal services to form their entities when they started the company and never went back and cleaned them up. When those documents get tested in a dispute, or you find yourself in a dispute without any documents, you need experienced legal counsel on your side to untie the knots, to fight for your rights and to stay cool headed and focused on the end game.
Listen to Our Clients
I was had an issue with a franchise I recently bought and was introduced to Will Jameson after the fact. Will was a pleasure to work with, he knows this industry and how to play the game! He quickly summed up my issues and guided me through the process, while covering all the bases and protecting me from any further headaches. If you need someone on your side that understands this industry, I would highly recommend Will. I only wish I had contacted him earlier in the process. Great job Will!
Choose Experienced Representation
Whether you are a franchisor or a franchisee, we can provide you with the results-oriented representation you will need when serious franchise conflicts arise. Call us today at 215-525-1165 to schedule a consultation.