UNFAIR FRANCHISOR PRACTICES
A group of about a dozen convenience store franchisees came to us for assistance because the franchisor was engaging in unfair practices. We represented them and fought for them for several years in court.
We ultimately won a major decision in the Washington Court of Appeals.
SINGLE FRANCHISE CASE
We helped a small company sell a single retail meat franchise under an exemption for a single offering inside the State of Washington, by qualifying them for an exemption and preparing the necessary paperwork to make that possible.
The company was able to sell a single meat franchise.
FRANCHISEE DOCUMENT REVIEW
A client retained us to review a disclosure document and contract for a well-known food franchise. After reviewing the documents we outlined for the client some points of concern, including that the franchisor’s financial condition was shaky, that they had a history of selling a lot of franchises and never getting them open, but keeping the fees, that they required the franchisee and spouse to sign personal guarantees that also guaranteed obligations to all vendors and suppliers, that they required franchisees to travel to their headquarters in a distant state to resolve disputes, and that they required franchisees to pay minimum royalties even if the business completely failed.
The client decided to look at other business opportunities.
We represented a condominium owner whose neighbor locked her out of part of her property.
We worked out a settlement where the client regained unrestricted access to her property and the other party paid the client’s attorneys’ fees and costs.
VIOLATION OF FRANCHISE AGREEMENT
A health-related franchisee was sued by its franchisor for allegedly violating a franchise agreement that was never signed.
We defended the franchisee, filed aggressive counter-claims, and were able to settle the case before trial.
A client who is a commercial landlord had a tenant who was not paying for insurance or paying rent on time.
We worked with the landlord to get the tenant out of the premises without litigation and with enough rent paid to cover until they can probably find a new tenant.
We represented a group of tutoring franchisees through a lengthy arbitration proceeding because their franchisor had mislead them about the cost of operating their business and the prospects of success.
After obtaining an arbitration award for one of the group, we settled the remainder of the claims. The franchisor ultimately signed the entire franchise company over to the franchisees.
Another client got into a dispute with her business partner of several years. Cash and other assets were at risk. We were able to work with the client to secure the cash and other assets while negotiating with the attorney for the other party.
After just a few weeks, we were able to work out a resolution that both preserved the business and separated our client from her former partner without real harm.
We have reviewed disclosure documents and contracts for innumerable prospective franchisees and consulted with them about their decision whether to invest in the franchise.
POST-SALE LEASE LIABILITY
In the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, we helped an online retailer client sell its business assets to its long time manager. The sale included thousands of items of intellectual property and supply chain and fulfillment issues. We prepared the asset purchase and sale documents, financing documents, and title transfers. We worked with the client to limit post-sale lease liability.
The closing occurred on time and all electronically—in an era of social distancing. The business never lost a beat.
REAL ESTATE COMPANY REPRESENTATION
We worked with a major regional real estate company to qualify it to offer and sell franchises.
During the time we represented them, the company grew into a major regional chain with approximately 30 franchisees.
A client wanted to buy a small farm with a wine producing business on it.
We helped negotiate the deal, prepared documents and assisted the client in getting a good deal.
ACCUSATION OF FRANCHISE LAW VIOLATION
We represented a small franchisor who was accused by the state of violating the franchise law by not disclosing a fact.
We negotiated with the state officials and got the matter resolved with a minimal penalty and a slight change to the disclosure so that the franchisor could continue in business.
Another client wanted to sell her franchised business. We worked with her to negotiate the best deal possible but it became clear that the buyer was not as qualified as the client thought.
We advised the client to terminate the transaction.
We consulted with a company that was considering franchising its youth-education business.
After we explained the difference between running a franchise company and teaching kids, the company decided to take a different direction.
A client wanted to sell his telecom company that had grown to a size where it was generating several million dollars a year in revenue. The first two prospective buyers were not qualified or would not meet the client’s terms. Finally, the third prospective buyer proved to be qualified and we closed a multi-million-dollar transaction for all cash.