Franchise & Dealership

Overview

Franchise and dealership law is a rapidly developing area, and it provides complex challenges to manufacturers, suppliers, dealers, distributors and franchisees. In this ever-shifting legal landscape, businesses can find themselves facing unanticipated liabilities. Dealers and distributors may unaware of their legal rights. While both suppliers and dealers/franchisees often look to their contracts to determine their rights and obligations, there are many state statutes and common law principles which, in fact, govern their relationships; these laws often contradict the contract terms. These state franchise and dealership laws, which are often undetected by businesses, can present both enormous liability to the unsuspecting manufacturer/supplier and broad rights for the dealer/franchisee (and claims for damages). Furthermore, these challenges for businesses are growing. Through an expansive definition of legal terms such as "license" and "community of interest," courts nationwide are extending these state statutes into industries not previously within franchise and dealership law protection.

Verrill Dana's Franchise & Dealership Group works on a national stage. We are an experienced team of both litigators and business law attorneys with a proven track record of success. As advisors and counselors, the Franchise & Dealership Group consults with clients about their contracts, internal policies and procedures, both to advise them about their rights and obligations under franchise and dealership laws and to reduce exposure to claims. We advise our clients on structuring their dealer/franchise network and growth strategies to manage their future legal risk.

Also, our Franchise & Dealership Group litigation team advocates for our clients to defend their interests in any forum, including courts, arbitration proceedings and administrative boards. Drawing on their vast experience in commercial and antitrust litigation, their detailed knowledge of the state franchise and dealership laws and their success in previous franchise and dealership law cases, our litigation team serves our clients by providing attention to detail, fierce advocacy and creative strategy. For example, working with Verrill Dana's legislative practice group, we successfully amended the state franchise laws in the Maine Legislature, and then presented that legislative amendment in the client's pending arbitration proceeding. As part of Verrill Dana, the Franchise & Dealership Group can muster the resources of a large law firm by tapping into the collective knowledge of lawyers in every practice group and by utilizing the cutting edge in litigation technology. The result is a small group of dedicated lawyers who have the experience, track record and resources to take on any legal challenge.

Our Franchise & Dealership Group represents manufacturers, suppliers, franchisors, dealers, distributors and franchisees. The scope of our representation has sharpened our skills to address a wide range of franchise and dealership law problems and issues. For example, our recent successes include both our representation of a distributor who was terminated by an international manufacturer of life safety equipment and our defense of a supplier of automated storage and retrieval equipment from a dealer's unlawful termination claims.

Labor and Employment:

Our Franchise/Dealership group also provides advice and counseling to franchisees, franchisors, manufacturers, and distributors on unique labor and employment issues that arise as a result of the franchise/dealership relationship. This includes issues relating to joint or single employer status and the application of federal and state discrimination, wage and hour, and worker misclassification laws.

Franchise/Dealership Representation:

Relying on our experience with the Federal Arbitration Act, the Franchise/Dealership group has helped manufacturers and distributors enforce arbitration clauses contained in their franchise agreements. For instance, our attorneys have successfully represented boat manufacturers in Indiana and Louisiana to enforce a franchise agreement’s arbitration clause and avoid an onerous mandatory buy-back provision under state law.

Contacts

  • Partner
    T: (207) 253-4414