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ARTHUR L. PRESSMAN

As a trial lawyer with more than 30 years of experience, Arthur helps franchise clients resolve disputes.

Chambers USA has recognized him among the top seven U.S. franchise lawyers for the past four years. According to client feedback, Arthur is “the go-to guy,” a “very good litigator,” “gets things done very efficiently” and is “very knowledgeable.” “His client service is great.”

What do you focus on?

I offer clients high level strategic advice based on my 30 plus years of experience in assisting multiple franchise companies from the largest international brands to the newest fledgling brands. My goal is to help my clients focus on their core businesses, without unnecessary preoccupation by disputes with business partners.  I often appear in court on behalf of franchisors and sometimes appear on behalf of franchisees or distributors with legitimate business complaints that are not easily resolved.

I occasionally help clients structure franchise programs or convert an existing retail system to a franchise system. I also assist in the development of dispute resolution protocols that streamline resolution in a way that is fair to all stakeholders.

I’ve tried many cases before juries, judges and arbitration panels over my career. I am also a trained mediator with considerable experience as a mediation advocate and occasionally as a mediator.

What do you see on the horizon?

I foresee significant growth in the global marketplace. As franchise systems expand, it will become increasingly important to efficiently and cost-effectively resolve disputes in a way that minimizes interruptions and maintains good business relationships with franchisees.

Representative Experience

  • KFC Corporation v. Iowa Department of Revenue, No. 10-1340, United States Supreme Court.
    Representation of International Franchise Association in amicus brief filing in connection with KFC Corporation’s petition for Supreme Court review of Iowa’s taxation of its in-state royalty revenue.

  • FSRO Association Ltd v. Fantastic Sams Franchise Corporation, American Arbitration Association Claim No. 11 114 01221, and Fantastic Sams Franchise Corporation v. FSRO Association Ltd., USDC (MA 2011, Civ. No 1-2011-011485).
    Representation of franchisor in court action to limit franchise association’s ability to bring consolidated arbitration proceeding on behalf of multiple association members. Trial court orders 2/3 of association members to bring individual arbitrations and refers issue as to remaining 1/3 of members to arbitrators. Appeal pending at First Circuit as to remaining 1/3 of members.

  • Pinnacle Pizza Co. v. Little Caesar Enters., No. 08-3999, 2010 U.S. App. LEXIS 5801 (8th Cir. Mar. 22, 2010).
    Representation of franchisor against franchisee’s $600M claim for contract breach, trademark misappropriation and additional business torts. In March 2010, Eighth Circuit affirmed summary judgment in franchisor’s favor, dismissing all claims. Franchisee contended that Little Caesar misappropriated its “Hot-N-Ready” advertising based on language in the franchise agreement giving franchisees ownership of all “original advertising material.” Without reaching the contract language relied on by the trial court in its grant of summary judgment, the Circuit accepted Little Caesar’s alternate argument (rejected by the trial court) that the claims were untimely. In so ruling, the Circuit clarified that the “continuing wrong” theory relied upon by the trial court did not apply under Michigan law to a franchise agreement breach. The Circuit also affirmed summary judgment on Little Caesar’s counterclaim for breach of the franchise agreement’s no-suit covenant. The franchisee had argued that public policy required an implied “good faith” exception to the no-suit covenant. The Circuit and trial court both disagreed, and held that the franchisee had breached the franchise agreement by bringing its claims to invalidate Little Caesar’s trademark.

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  • Barkan v. Dunkin’ Brands, Inc, No. 05-ca-050L (D.R.I. 2010).
    Representation of franchisor in defense of $13 M fraud and breach of contract claims by former franchisee. Jury trial in December 2009 ended in mistrial for juror misconduct, and retrial in January 2010 ended in directed verdict for franchisor after the court barred franchisee’s expert witness from testifying. Judgment for franchisor affirmed in per curiam opinion in December 2010. 637 F.3d 634 (1st Cir. 2010).

  • G.L.M. Security & Sound, Inc. v. LoJack Corporation, No. CV-10-4701-LJS (E.D. N.Y. 2010).
    Representation of former distributor of after-market, auto security systems in various contract and tort claims. Case pending.

  • Williams et al v. Kahala Corp., Case No. 10-L-166, Circuit Court, Madison County, IL (2010).
    Defense of Blimpie® franchisor in putative class action based on alleged false advertising of amount of meat in “double portion” Blimpie sandwich. No class certified. Settled for de minimis food pantry donation.

  • Pohlmann et al v. Fiducial Franchises, Inc. et al., Cause No. 08SL-CC02849, 21st Judicial Circuit, St. Louis County. MO (2010).
    Defense of financial services franchisor in class action alleging agency and direct liability for franchisee’s sale of fraudulent tax credits. Motion for class certification denied by trial court in July 2010. MO Court of Appeals affirmed denial of class certification in July 2011.

  • Planetarium Travels, Inc. v. American Express Travel Related Services Company, Inc., Index No. 600794/10, Supreme Court, New York County, NY (2010).
    Defense of franchisor in action for injunction to compel renewal of franchise agreement and damages. Preliminary injunction denied after hearing; affirmed on appeal. Case pending.

  • Kiddie Academy Domestic Franchising LLC v. Faith Enterprises DC, LLC, 2009 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 61989 (D. Md. 2009).
    Representation of franchisor in defense of multimillion-dollar fraud and breach of contract claims by franchisee. Summary judgment in favor of franchisor on all claims, including award of attorneys’ fees.

  • DeGiovanni v. Jani-King of Boston, Inc. et al., Civil Action No. 07-10066 (D. Mass. 2007); Myers v. Jani-King of Philadelphia, Inc. et al., Civil Action No. 09-1738 (E.D. Pa. 2009).
    Defense of putative class actions alleging violation of state wage payment laws, misclassification of franchisees as employees, and unfair and deceptive trade practices. Additional issues include enforcement of forum selection clause, choice of law clause, and inherent “fairness” of royalty and other fees disclosed in FDD and contained in franchise agreement.

  • Hamilton-Dutt et al. v. Pla-Fit LLC, No. 1:09- cv-10560 (D. Mass. 2009); HD Fit, Inc. v. Pla-Fit, LLC, No. 13-C-09-076764 (Maryland Cir. Ct. 2009); HD Fit, Inc. et al v. Pla-Fit, LLC et al., American Arbitration Association (Boston 2009).
    Defended franchisor against franchisee claims in multiple proceedings for $10 million in antitrust, civil conspiracy and fraud damages based on franchisor’s sale of development rights to third party. Litigated in multiple proceedings, including successful action to compel arbitration; settled on extremely favorable and confidential terms.

  • In Re Fein, Debtor, Bankr. Case No. 08-30185, U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Massachusetts (Western Division), CCH Business Franchise Guide 2008-2009, ¶13,951.
    Defense of franchisor in adversary proceeding for relief from automatic stay to assert claim for violation of post-termination covenant against competition. In granting relief to franchisor, court held that franchisee-debtor was entitled to “fresh start” under bankruptcy laws, but not “head start.”

  • Monster Cable Products, Inc. v. Monster Mini Golf, LLC, No. 2:08-cv-01037-LKK-EFB (E.D. Cal. 2008).
    Defended franchisor of monster-themed mini-golf course concept and its franchisee in federal trademark infringement and unfair competition claims by owner of various MONSTER trademarks who contended that it had trademark rights to exclusive use of the word “monster” in connection with various business applications. Settled on favorable terms. Reported in Wall Street Journal, page one, April 4, 2009, “The Scariest Monster of All Sues for Trademark Infringement.” 

  • Hotel Associates v. Howard Johnson Franchise Systems (D.P.R. 2003), affirmed per curiam, 198 Fed. Appx. 13 (1st Cir. 2006).
    Summary judgment in favor of franchisor on all claims in $22M suit for encroachment and breach of contract.

  • McDonald’s Corp. v. Benito, No. 1:04-cv-01575 (S.D.N.Y. 2004).
    Representation of franchisor in contested termination of multiple-unit restaurant franchisee in New York City. After the court denied franchisee’s motion for a temporary restraining order, franchisee settled by leaving the franchise system and reimbursing franchisor for all legal fees and expenses.

  • Carta v. McDonald’s Corp., No. 1:03-cv-12237 (D. Mass. 2003).
    Defense of self-insured restaurant franchisor in action for bad faith failure to settle insurance claim under state insurance statutes. Court granted franchisor’s motion to dismiss, holding that franchisor could not be liable under a statute that applied only to insurance companies.

  • Superior Walls of America, Inc., v. Weaver Precast, Inc. (E.D. Pa. 2003).
    Prosecution of patent infringement action by franchisor alleging franchisee infringed upon franchisor’s patent by offering proprietary business process in unauthorized channels of distribution. Case settled on terms favorable to franchisor.

  • Huntington Learning Centers, Inc., and The Association of Remedial Educators (American Arbitration Association 2003); Huntington Learning Centers, Inc. v. The Association of Remedial Educators (New York County Supreme Court 2003).
    Defense of franchisor against claims by 80 franchisees for $20M in alleged lost profits arising from ad fund shortfall, including striking of consolidated damage claims in separate state court litigation; case favorably settled.

  • Andrews v. Avis Rent a Car and Cendant Car Rental, (Florida Superior Court 2003).
    Defense of franchisor against vicarious liability claims by quadriplegic plaintiff injured in one-car motor vehicle accident in Mexico. Case settled.

  • Bradley et al. v. The Arrow Corporation, Superior Court, Connecticut, 2002.
    Representation of franchisor against multiple franchisees in conflict over system expansion and Internet use: case settled by franchisee buy-out of franchise agreement obligations)

  • Hunter v. Superior Walls of America, Inc., No. 0:00-cv-02519 (D. Minn. 2001).
    Defense of franchisor against claims by former franchisee for fraud and violation of state franchise registration law. Case included motion to dismiss and motion to disqualify plaintiff’s counsel for unauthorized communications with one of franchisor’s managerial employees, who was also a named defendant. Case favorably settled.

  • McDonald’s Corp. v. Dat Do, No. 00-1592-A, 2001 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 10457 (E.D. Va. 2001).
    Representation of franchisor in termination of multiple-unit franchisee in “rocket docket” jurisdiction. Affirmed by 4th Circuit.

  • McDonald’s Corp. v. Robertson, 147 F.3d 1301 (11th Cir. 1998).
    Representation of franchisor in action to enforce termination of long-time franchisee for failure to comply with franchisor’s quality, service, and cleanliness standards. Preliminary injunction granted and affirmed on appeal.

  • McDonald’s Corp. v. Michael, No. 0:97-cv-02252 (D. Minn. 1998).
    Representation of franchisor in action to enforce termination of franchisee for violation of quality, service and cleanliness standards. Temporary and preliminary injunctions granted.

  • Dunkin’ Donuts, Inc., v. Mandorico, Inc., 181 FRD 208 (D. Puerto Rico 1998).
    Representation of franchisor in termination of development rights and defense of Law 75 counterclaim. Case settled on favorable terms.

  • Specialty Bakeries, Inc. v. HalRob, Inc., 129 F.3d 726 (3d Cir. 1997).
    Representation of franchisor in enforcement of arbitration provisions against franchisee of competing franchise system acquired by franchisor for resolution of franchisee claims, including vacating state court injunction against arbitration proceedings.

  • Cione v. Carvel, Inc., (D. NJ 1995).
    Representation of franchisor in defense of civil RICO and fraud claims; two-month jury trial followed by twenty-day jury deliberation; hung jury, case favorably concluded.

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Arthur L. Pressman