Franchising in Specific Industries

Carmen D. Caruso Law Firm has represented and advised clients in almost every conceivable field in which franchises have been created and sold. Here are some select highlights:

Health Care Franchising

Carmen D. Caruso Law Firm has strong experience in health care franchising, a field with many industry specific issues such as the corporate practice of medicine, fee-splitting, self-referrals, anti-kickback regulations, third-party reimbursement concerns and privacy laws.

  • We formed and provide counsel to an independent franchisee association for the franchisees of the largest urgent care system in the United States.
  • In a transactional assignment, Carmen D. Caruso obtained the successful registration in Illinois of an urgent care clinic franchise, one of the first in the country of its kind.
  • We won a victory in the U.S. Court of Appeals for a health care franchisee on the important issue of national account allocation.
  • We have advised physicians in their capacity as franchise owners in specific niche franchisees such as travel-care.
  • We represent a home-health care franchisor in arbitration with a franchisee and have advised franchisors and franchisees in the field of home health care services and have resolved numerous disputes that have arisen for those clients.

Restaurants

Carmen D. Caruso previously served as an outside trial counsel to McDonald’s Corporation and to Pillsbury Company (Godfather’s Pizza) and has represented franchisees, area developers or independent franchisee associations in almost every major brand and in numerous start-up concepts. We are experienced with all issues that typically arise in restaurant franchising including the maintenance of brand standards, concept evolution, pricing and supply, expansion and encroachment, advertising funds, termination, renewal, and post-termination competition.
We also have the experience to recognize discrete disclosure issues that may arise regarding Item 19 Financial Performance Representations and other disclosures – for example, when a brand successful in one part of the country expands to new and untested markets.

Retailing

Carmen served as outside general counsel and trial counsel to a “top 200” retailing franchisor for nearly seven years, overseeing all aspects of the company’s business, advising top management and ownership on all significant issues, and guiding the company’s expansion of its IP portfolio and international expansion into Mexico, Latin America, China and South Africa (in addition to successfully defending the company in court). He also advised the company on difficult supplier issues and growing consumer and public interest opposition to the brand and effective public relations strategy.

Hotels

Hotel franchises are not subject to separate franchising laws, but their franchise agreements are not typical. Carmen has advised the Asian American Hotel Owners Association (AAHOA) and the National Association of Black Hotel Owners, Operators and Developers (NABHOOD) on hotel franchising issues including the negotiation and resolution of liquidated damages claims, failure to open problems, reservation system problems, inspection issues, and unwanted remodeling and improvement expenses. We have represented many hotel franchisees on these issues, typically resolving them by settlement.

Real Estate Brokerage

Carmen D. Caruso Law Firm represents a real estate brokerage franchisor and has represented franchisees in almost every major real estate brand on issues relating to the merger of brands, terminations and non-renewals, and the raiding of sales associates.

Petroleum Marketing Franchising

Carmen wrote for the American Bar Association Forum on Franchising on the subject “Constructive Termination of PMPA Franchises” after a new Supreme Court case.

In practice, Carmen D. Caruso Law Firm has represented gas station/c-store franchisees in litigation against major brands and has advised other gas station/c-store franchisees on strategy for dealing with their fuel supplier and in dealing with actual, threatened and constructive terminations.

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