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Litigating Franchise Disputes

(494 reviews)

Produced on April 11, 2017

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Course Information

Time 1h 30m
Difficulty Intermediate
Topics covered in this course: Business, Corporate, & Securities

Course Description

The relationship between a franchisor and its franchisees is much more interdependent than many business relationships. When disputes arise in a franchise relationship the stakes can be extremely high for both parties. For a franchisee, the entire investment in their franchised business may be at stake when a franchisor threatens to terminate or alter franchise rights. For a franchisor, an allegation of wrongful conduct by a franchisee may potentially have implications that affect the entire system and threaten the ongoing viability of the branded concept. The purpose of this course is to explore the distinctive aspects and considerations in franchise disputes.

In this course, Michael Einbinder and Jim Goniea of Einbinder Dunn & Goniea LLP, will provide an in‐depth examination of the unique issues that typically arise in arbitrations and litigations between franchisors and franchisees. The program will cover the anatomy of a typical franchise dispute from the perspective of both franchisor and franchisee, the claims, defenses and remedies that tend to arise in such disputes, franchise specific laws that affect the outcome of such disputes and the specific aspects of the franchise business model that affect the outcomes of such disputes.

Learning Objectives: 

  1. Review the dynamics of the business relationship between franchisors and franchisees

  2. Examine the reasons that franchise disputes typically arise

  3. Advise on the unique considerations applicable to franchisors and franchisees in disputes that arise in the franchise relationship

  4. Identify issues affecting decisions concerning choice of venue

  5. Discuss the claims and defenses that are common to franchise disputes from the perspective of both franchisor and franchisee

  6. Understand discovery issues unique to franchise disputes

  7. Address the franchise specific laws affecting franchise litigation and

  8. Grasp the unique leverage points in franchise disputes that franchisors may have over franchisees or that franchisees may have over franchisors

  9. Recognize typical settlement and workout opportunities that tend to arise in franchise disputes

Credit Information

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Michael Einbinder

Einbinder & Dunn LLP

Michael Einbinder is a founding member of Einbinder & Dunn and has been practicing law since 1981. His experience encompasses commercial litigation with a broad range of legal and business skills. Throughout his 30 years of practice, he has handled complex commercial cases in state and federal courts representing businesses and industries throughout the country in cases involving, among other things, claims relating to breach of contract, fraud, misappropriation of trade secrets, interference with contractual relations, enforcement of non- competition agreements, real estate transactions, partnership and shareholder disputes as well as intellectual property matters. He has also appeared in various arbitration and mediation forums. 

A substantial portion of his practice includes representation of start-up and established franchisors as well as multi-unit and single unit franchisees. Franchisors and franchisees are represented in a wide variety of industries, including restaurant, retail, hospitality, real estate, manufacturing, optical, recreation, business services, household and home improvement services, health care, education, child care and pet care. For franchisor clients, he has litigated and arbitrated all categories of disputes including trademark infringement claims, termination issues, enforcement of non-competition agreements, breaches of contracts and fraud claims. For franchisee clients, he has litigated an array of claims including those relating to franchise disclosure violations, franchise relationship laws, fraud, misuse of advertising funds, breaches of franchise agreements, non-competition issues and franchise terminations. His firm also handles litigation, arbitration, and mediation nationwide for both franchisors and franchisees (including associations). 

Mr. Einbinder is an author in numerous publications, including contributing a chapter to the “Franchise Litigation Handbook” published by the ABA Forum on Franchising, co-authoring “A Franchisee’s Guide to Franchisor Bankruptcy” published in the Fall 2011 edition of the Franchise Law Journal and contributing a chapter in the ABA Forum Publication entitled “Covenants Against Competition in Franchise Agreements,” Third Edition, published in the Fall of 2012. Michael Einbinder has been listed among the top franchise lawyers by the Franchise Times since 2004 and is a frequent speaker on franchise issues at events hosted by the American Bar Association Forum on Franchising, the International Franchise Association Legal Symposium as well as the New York City Bar Association CLE program in which he has presented papers on franchise issues for other attorneys. 

James Goniea

Einbinder Dunn & Goniea LLP

James A. Goniea joined the firm on January 1, 2016 and typically divides his time between the firm’s New York and Philadelphia offices. Mr. Goniea has over twenty-four years’ experience litigating on behalf of, and providing counsel to, many of the most prominent names in franchising. Mr. Goniea regularly represents franchise clients in courts across the country and internationally on a wide variety of issues including, but not limited to, territorial disputes, non-competition covenants, trademark disputes, system compliance, wrongful termination and enforcement of arbitration and venue provisions. In addition to franchising matters, Mr. Goniea’s practice includes representing companies and individuals in a wide variety of commercial disputes and corporate matters including, among others, insurance matters, labor and employment issues, mergers and acquisitions and corporate restructuring.

Mr. Goniea was named Philadelphia Franchise Law "2014-2015 Lawyer of the Year" by Best Lawyers in America. Mr. Goniea is nationally ranked in the Franchise category of Chambers USA 2016 which describes him as "smart and professional" and "skilled in the courtroom setting, a good speaker and writer, and analytical."  In addition, Mr. Goniea has been recognized as a Franchise Law "Legal Eagle" numerous times by Franchise Times Magazine and has also been recognized by Who’s Who Legal: Franchise 2016 as being “among the world’s leading Franchise lawyers."

Mr. Goniea presently serves as the Publications Officer of the Governing Committee of the ABA Forum on Franchising. He has written papers and presented programs on a wide variety of franchise law issues for numerous seminars and symposia including both the ABA Forum on Franchising and the International Franchise Association Legal Symposium. Mr. Goniea is the co-author of the Annual Franchise and Distribution Law Developments 2012 and the Chapter on "Termination, Nonrenewal and Transfer" in The Franchise Law Compliance Manual, 2nd Edition, both published by the ABA. He also has had articles concerning franchise law and practice published in Franchising World Magazine and The Franchise Lawyer.

From 2000 to 2006, Mr. Goniea served as the Vice President and General Counsel of American Driveline Systems, Inc., the company that owns the AAMCO Transmissions and Cottman Transmissions brands.   

After graduating from law school, Mr. Goniea clerked for Supreme Court Justice Samuel A. Alito, Jr. when he was a judge on the U. S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. In 1986, between college and law school, Mr. Goniea lived in Wuhan, China for a year teaching English as a Princeton in Asia Fellow.


Rob A.

This was excellent!

Batya W.

I enjoyed listening to the presenters and was interested in the subject even though it's not my practice area.

Khristine M.

The speakers worked very well together. It made the presentation even better.

Jamey B.

Good presentation and teamwork.

Elizabeth P.

Good presentation.

Ronald L. B.

a lot of information. very helpful.

Peter M.

Very helpful, as I needed this background in dealing with commercial retail tenants who are franchisees.

kathleen s.

Very informative

Dwight B.


Marc Z.

I liked the format of having Mike and Jim play off each other and complement each other's content. It kept me more engaged and the subject matter more interesting. They were very focused but added a human element to it.

Daniel C.

a very informative and well organized and presented program. Thank you.

Grover O.

Michael & James are simply outstanding in their presentations and materials!

Richard S.


Brian H.

nice information about franchise issues

Philip S.


Michael V.

very good presenters able to deliver an effective CLE

William H.

Very polished, knowledgeable, and impressive presenters. One of best LL -- or, FTM, any -- courses I've taken.

Adria B.

well done!

Jeremy A.

For an attorney branching into the area of franchisee defense, this has proven to be invaluable.

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