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Franchise, Dealer and Sales Representative Litigation

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Miller Canfield has deep experience representing franchisors, master franchisees, and manufacturers from many industries in disputes involving franchisees, dealers, distributors and sales representatives throughout the United States and in Canada. We are familiar with the state and federal statutes that govern these relationships, and the subtle differences between jurisdictions that can trap the unwary. 

Our experience includes:

  • Refiner-Dealer/Refiner-Jobber-Dealer Relationships
    • Brand and trademark infringement

    • Brand image issues, including C-Store activity (bath salts, contraband, etc.)

    • Breach of contract

    • City ordinance violations at dealer locations

    • Credit card processing disputes

    • Cross-hauling

    • Dealer eviction

    • De-branding

    • Deed and other use restrictions (including franchisor and jobber restrictions)

    • Enforcement and collections of personal guarantees

    • Foreclosures

    • Fraudulent inducement

    • Improvement agreements and related claims

    • Jobber/dealer bankruptcy

    • Lanham Act violations

    • Misbranding matters

    • Mutual Cancellations

    • Mystery shop violations

    • Overcharge contentions and related issues

    • Pre-termination negotiations

    • Price claims, including Robinson Patman Act and open pricing terms

    • Uniform Commercial Code disputes regarding dealer tankwagon, jobber rack pricing

    • Product delivery claims

    • Product quality and dilution

    • Refiner to refiner sublicenses

    • State based motor fuel dispensing services statutory requirements

    • Trade secrets, including claims under the Uniform Trade Secrets Act

    • Temporary restraining orders and preliminary injunctions

    • Termination and non-renewal

    • Tortious interference claims

  • Termination disputes and counseling
  • Contract and compliance disputes
  • Encroachment disputes
  • Commission disputes
  • Protecting trademarks, service marks, and trade dress
  • De-branding litigation
  • Enforcing non-compete and trade secret agreements
  • Antitrust and product pricing disputes
  • Class and collective actions
  • Temporary restraining orders and preliminary injunctions
  • Enforcing agreements to arbitrate and confirming arbitration awards
  • Labor and employment disputes
  • Tort litigation including personal injury, vicarious liability, intentional torts, libel and slander (including social media issues)
  • Product liability and product warranty disputes
  • Insolvency and collection issues

Our experience includes the many special industry statutes that apply to alcoholic beverage, automobile, power equipment, farm equipment and other dealers, as well as the statutes that protect commissioned sales representatives. One member of our team has taught a law school class on franchising and dealer law, and we write and speak regularly on these specialized areas. We are active in the American Bar Association Forum on Franchising, and were co-founders of the Women's Franchising Network.