Franchise and Distribution Law

"These are the attorneys that I would turn to in the event that my company's life was at stake. Their intellect and dedication are unmatched."
Chambers USA, 2013, Franchising: Nationwide.

Day Pitney's Franchise and Distribution Law practice group has represented national and regional franchisors in hundreds of actions and arbitrations throughout the United States. With one of the most active and experienced franchise and distribution litigation practices in the country, Day Pitney is well known throughout the franchise community. Our lawyers have significant experience representing, among others, global automotive, vehicle rental, real estate brokerage, hospitality, food service, and powersports franchisors in federal and state courts throughout the country. Our clients include Fortune 500 manufacturers, distributors, and franchisors. We also are active participants in the American Bar Association's Forum on Franchising and the International Franchise Association and are frequent authors and lecturers for both organizations.

Counseling: Noted for our considerable experience in pre-litigation counseling, we regularly advise our clients regarding the terms of their franchise, license, and distribution agreements and the advantages, disadvantages, and legal ramifications of contemplated actions, in an effort to avoid litigation.

Protecting the Brand: We have assisted franchisor-clients in protecting their trademarks and service marks by aggressively pursuing state and federal court actions to enjoin former franchisees and others from misuse of clients' intellectual property. In addition, we recognize the importance of system standards and quality assurance, take time to understand each client's franchise system, and aggressively enforce quality assurance and system standards.

Alternative Dispute Resolution: We recognize the benefit of early and amicable resolutions when possible, and our lawyers, many of whom have acted as arbitrators and/or mediators themselves, have successfully counseled clients through arbitration, mediation, and other forms of alternative dispute resolution.

Trial Experience: The key to settlement often hinges on a willingness to proceed to trial, and our attorneys have extensive experience litigating cases to successful resolution through motion practice and/or trial. Among other repeated successes, we have enforced terminations, recovered liquidated damages, and defeated claims asserted by franchisees in the hospitality industry. Additional recent representative matters include:

  • Successfully represented an automobile manufacturer on appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit in connection with its defense of a New Jersey Franchise Practices Act claim.
  • Successfully represented a hospitality franchisor at trial in the District of New Jersey in connection with claims by the former franchisee relating to signage on the franchisee's property.
  • Won a directed verdict following a six-week jury trial on behalf of a national real estate brokerage franchise client in the Southern District of New York.
  • Obtained summary judgment on behalf of a franchisor dismissing the consumer fraud claims of a putative nationwide class.
  • Successfully represented a domestic auto manufacturer in connection with arbitration claims by dealers challenging the rejection of their franchise in bankruptcy proceedings.
  • Prevailed in a lengthy bench trial on claims brought by a truck rental dealer in connection with the acquisition and integration of a competing brand by the dealer's licensor.
  • Won summary judgment in the Western District of Texas in favor of a car rental franchisor in connection with claims by a franchisee following the parent company's acquisition of a competing rental system.
  • Successfully defeated a franchisee's claim in an arbitration hearing concerning a dispute over definition of revenue for purposes of calculating royalties.
  • Defeated a franchisee's exclusivity claims in the District of New Jersey, which were premised on the operation of a competing brand by a corporate affiliate of the franchisor.