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Lawyers to Gather at ABA Forum on Franchising

Franchise lawyers will gather at the 34th ABA Forum on Franchising from October 19-21. Co-chair Mike Lindsey told me he thinks attorneys attending this year's event will be abuzz about several major lawsuits.

For one, last week a Taco Bell franchise was zinged by a California court for not having a handicap friendly store. Franchisees no doubt will want to know how that ruling will impact their stores in the future.

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Some franchisors will be all abuzz about the final Massachusetts high court ruling of Pius Awuah v Coverall Cleaning. It declared that janitorial franchisors, specifically Coverall Cleaning, cannot pretend that employees are really independent franchisees to get out of their employer duties. The hearts of a few franchisors, those that centrally book and bill customers directly while providing a check down the line to so-called franchisees for their services, have collectively sunk.

I cannot imagine that the U.S. Supreme Court ruling of AT&T v Concepcion will not be discussed at length. That is where the court ruled earlier this year that contracts banning class action arbitrations are indeed enforceable. So attorneys will want to quickly spread the word to take advantage of the ruling and correctly word the franchise agreement to ensure that franchisees cannot aggregate their disagreements in arbitration court, despite their best efforts.

I'll be there reporting on events. So will attorneys Paul Steinberg and Michael Webster. If you are there, please come say hi. (My contact info is here, including my phone number.)

I look forward to learning the latest on what legally is coming down the pike that affects your franchise.

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