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Legal news that affect small businesses and franchises, or legal advice for franchise owners

Franchisee Tenants and the Art of Lease Negotiating

Royal Hawaiian Shopping Center, Waikiki
 Food court (left, middle tier), Royal Hawaiian Shopping Center, Waikiki

Franchisees need to be aware beforehand of how their franchise ownership will or may affect their lease and their relationship with their landlord—and negotiate accordingly. An attorney who specializes in real estate and corporate law points the way:

California Judge Rules Coffee Must Have Cancer Warning

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Elihu Berle issued a proposed ruling this past Wednesday that coffee in California must carry a cancer warning. The toxin at issue is acrylamide, which is formed from the charring that occurs when coffee is roasted. Starbucks was prominently named in the lawsuit brought by the Council for Education and Research on Toxics, along with defendants 7-Eleven, Target and a total of approximately 90.

DLA Piper’s Top 10 Franchise Cases for 2017

Earlier this month, DLA Piper presented the firm's selection of the top 10 franchise legal cases decided in 2017, those that provided guidance as to business considerations for franchisors.

Anti-Poaching Clause in Franchise Agreements Is a Big Risk for Franchisors

What is an anti-poaching clause in franchise agreements? U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, now involved in the issue, may have best described it when he stated, "Provisions in a franchise agreement limiting a franchisee's ability to solicit or hire workers from another franchise."

A Good Example of How Not to Comply with the ADA

The settlement of a disability discrimination lawsuit filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) aptly demonstrates the adage that sometimes the best example is a really bad example.

In Search of a Strong Mediator

Arthur Pressman, an attorney who has represented mostly franchisors, is senior counsel at Nixon Peabody, a law firm with more than 600 attorneys. Presently serving as a mediation specialist, he writes that recently a flurry of posts to the American Bar Association Forum on Franchising ListServ seek a "strong" mediator. But a "strong" mediator is in the eye of the beholder. What do they have in mind? Pressman explores the question, terming the relevant phrase "ISO [in search of] strong mediator." 

Franchisee, Economics Professor: 3 Problems with GOP Tax Bill

Jimmy John's Front Line
Jimmy John's front line stuffing sandwiches

Tim Wulf, a former economics professor who is a Jimmy John's franchisee and is a regular contributor of writings to trade and local publications, says that the new GOP tax bill lacks measures to boost labor productivity, which he says is the most important driver of US economic improvement.

National Labor Board Reverses Joint Employment Decision in Browning-Ferris

The International Franchise Association received an early Christmas present last Thursday when the National Labor Relations Board overruled its 2015 Obama-era decision by a 3-2 vote in the closely watched Browning-Ferris Industries case concerning the controversial topic of "joint employment."

Baskin-Robbins Lawyers Explain Away 'Fee' Charged to Its Supplier to Then Be Charged to Franchisees Is Not A 'Fee'

Gray Plant Mooty attorneys, representing Baskin-Robbins in litigation, clarified in a legal article yesterday, after a judge ruled in their favor in September, the issue at the center of the case that begs the question: When is a "fee" not a "fee."

The Myth of Secrecy (and Other Problems) in Franchise Arbitration

Arbitration is heralded as a way of providing for the just and efficient resolution of disputes.  Frequently arbitration fulfills this promise, but too often it does not.