Your Rights in a California Franchise Dispute
Many small business owners choose to open a franchise for various reasons. Franchise arrangements allow a new, inexperienced business owner to experience some of the benefits of small business ownership without having to completely “go it alone.” The franchisee – the small business owner – gets to use certain tangible and intangible property of the franchisor – in return for the payment of a franchise fee. Like other business contracts, however, the franchisor and franchisee do not always see eye to eye when it comes to the contract governing their relationship. As a small business owner, it is important to know that during these franchise disputes you have rights.
Rights of the Parties in a California Franchise Dispute
A California franchise dispute most often arises when the franchisor and franchisee cannot agree as to what the essential terms of the franchise agreement require each of them to do. Parties to a franchise dispute may choose to resolve their disagreement through one or more alternative dispute resolution methods (such as mediation), or they may choose to litigate the dispute.
Although parties who litigate their dispute generally have more rights than those who choose to settle their differences outside the legal system, the parties to a California franchise dispute have certain rights:
- The right to challenge (in court) the enforceability of a mandatory arbitration clause;
- The right to seek monetary damages from the other party if that other party is determined to have violated the terms and conditions of the franchise agreement;
- The right to contest the forum for resolving the dispute; that is, the right to ask a California court to determine whether the dispute should be resolved in California and according to California laws.
Many franchise agreements have clauses that appear to “require” the parties to resolve any dispute outside of court through arbitration or mediation. Doing so rarely benefits the franchisee. It is crucial, therefore, for small business owners involved in franchise disputes with a franchisor to have their franchise agreement reviewed by the experienced small business attorneys at JGPC Law before resolving their dispute through these alternative dispute resolution methods. Once a franchise dispute has been resolved through arbitration or mediation, any rights the aggrieved party may have had but failed to exercise are considered to have been given up, and there is usually very little that can be done if one party is later dissatisfied with how the dispute was settled.
Contact JGPC Law Today
At JGPC Law, our California small business attorneys are thoroughly familiar with the statutes and regulations that pertain to franchise agreements. We are committed to helping protect your legal rights so you can focus on building and running your business. We have helped numerous franchisors and franchisees successfully resolve their disputes in the San Leandro, Oakland, Fremont, Pleasanton, Danville, Walnut Creek, and Livermore areas. Contact JGPC Law for assistance at (925) 463-9600, or complete the firm’s online contact form for prompt and professional legal counsel.