Blog

https://franchiselaw.foxrothschild.com/

Megan is among the contributors to the firm's Franchise Law Update blog, which highlights not only the regulatory aspects of franchising but also diverse topics such as business finance, employment, litigation and the protection of intellectual property, including trademarks and copyrights.

Recent Blog Posts

  • Cities of Wisconsin, BEWARE! A recent decision by the Wisconsin Supreme Court (“Court”) has potentially far-reaching consequences for municipalities and how they conduct certain business. In Benson v. City of Madison, the Court analyzed whether the Wisconsin Fair Dealership Law (“WFDL”) applied to the arrangement between the City of Madison (“City”) and multiple entities, collectively (“Golf Pros”). The City entered into contracts with Golf Pros to operate, manage and provide certain services at the golf courses owned by the City. The City paid Golf Pros a... More
  • Is Everything “Settled” in Your Settlement Agreement? Not Quite! A recent case involving the Whataburger franchise system reminds franchisors of the importance of the use of iron-clad language when granting future development rights. In Whataburger, Inc. et. al. (“Whataburger”) v. Whataburger of Alice, Ltd. (“WOA”), the court was tasked with interpreting the language of a settlement agreement (“Settlement Agreement”) to determine whether WOA had the unfettered right to open new restaurants. Copyright: jagcz / 123RF Stock Photo As background, WOA had previously operated 28 franchised restaurants and sold them to Whataburger... More
  • Is Your Agreement to Arbitrate Valid? Many franchisors employ arbitration as its preferred method of dispute resolution.  Generally, courts view arbitration agreements favorably. An agreement to arbitrate waives the fundamental right to have a court decide the merit of their disputes. As such, valid, enforceable arbitration agreements are required to waive this essential right. Two recent decisions highlight the importance of ensuring that a valid agreement to arbitrate exists between the parties. Copyright: designer491 / 123RF Stock Photo Theo’s Pizza, LLC v. Integrity Brands, LLC In this case, the franchisee... More
  • Accidental Franchisor in Hot Water Safe Step Walk In Tub Co. (“Safe Step”) failed to take the requisite “safe steps” before potentially becoming an accidental franchisor. In Safe Step Walk In Tub Co. v. CKH Industries, Inc., Safe Step filed an action against a licensee, CKH Industries, Inc. (“CKH”) for breach of contract for non-payment of certain fees. CKH filed 22 counter-claims against Safe Step including violation of the Federal Trade Commission Rule on Franchising (“FTC Rule”) as well as the state franchise laws of... More
  • Will Florida Cease to be the “Sunshine State” for Franchising? (Part 2/2) Today, we continue our look at proposed changes to Florida’s franchise laws, including proposed changes in transferring franchised businesses, franchisor repurchase obligations and other miscellaneous changes TRANSFERRING FRANCHISED BUSINESS The Act prohibits a franchisor from restricting a franchisee’s ability to transfer its franchised business if the franchisee complies with franchisor’s “reasonable” transfer conditions, and the potential purchaser meets the qualifications for new and renewing franchisees. The Act fails to define what a “reasonable” transfer condition would be. Further, a franchisor must make... More
  • Will Florida Cease to be the “Sunshine State” For Franchising? 1/2 Two state legislators from Florida recently introduced a bill entitled “Protect Florida Small Business Act” (the “Act”), which could actually have the exact opposite effect on franchise relationships in Florida. While many states regulate the franchisor-franchisee relationship through franchise registration and restrictions on termination and non-renewal rights, this proposed legislation would implement some of the most extensive regulations on the franchise relationship in the United States. APPLICABILITY First, the Act is not explicitly clear about what agreements and parties it applies to. The... More
  • Court Relies on Intended Gross Sales in Denying Summary Judgment In determining whether an agency agreement between a family moving company, Ocean City Express, and an interstate moving company, Atlas Van Lines, is subject to the requirements of the New Jersey Franchise Practices Act (“NJFPA”), the federal district court in Newark (“Court”) held that a reasonable factfinder could conclude that this relationship falls within the requirements of the NJFPA in denying Atlas’ motion for summary judgment in Ocean City Express Co., Inc. v. Atlas Van Lines, Inc. Here, Ocean brought suit... More
  • Hold That Mail: Franchisor Granted Temporary Restraining Order to Enforce Non-Compete The interpretation and enforcement of non-competition covenants is always a hot button issue and varies from state to state. In Our Town v. Michael Rousseau and Jennifer Rousseau, the United States District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania (“Court”) granted a temporary restraining order filed by a franchisor, Our Town, against its former franchisees to prohibit them from operating a competing business in direct violation of the terms of the franchise agreement. Copyright: jossdiim / 123RF Stock Photo Here, on the... More
  • Are You Aware of the Recent Revisions to the SBA Loan Process for Franchised Businesses? Many franchisors have experience with the U.S. Small Business Association (“SBA”) as numerous franchisees utilize the SBA’s loan programs for small businesses. Previously, franchisors could send an application to the SBA to get on the Franchise Registry. During this process, the SBA reviewed the franchise agreement and drafted an addendum to revise the franchise agreement to avoid inclusion under the SBA’s “affiliation” rule (“SBA Negotiated Addendum”). This process was time-consuming and costly to all parties involved. On November 22, 2016, the SBA issued an... More
  • Franchisor Not Joint Employer under Economic Reality Test In Gessele v. Jack in the Box, Inc., the franchise world got a win in the joint employer battle when the United States District Court for Oregon (“Court”) held that Jack in the Box, Inc. (“JIB”) was not the joint employer of certain employees of its franchisees as a matter of law using the economic reality test in granting summary judgment in JIB’s favor. Here, several employees brought a putative class action lawsuit against JIB for violation of the minimum-wage and... More