Under the FTC’s Franchise Rule, a franchisor is permitted, but not required, to answer that all-important question asked by would-be franchise buyers: “how much money can I make?” Sometimes, the franchisor’s answer to that question can generate litigation.
A recent decision by a Court of Appeals in Missouri highlights the importance for franchisors of careful drafting of the arbitration clauses in their franchise agreements. Litigation over issues like this — whether a dispute must be submitted to arbitration or instead whether it can be decided by a court — is a huge drain on the parties’ resources (time and money). A franchisor would be well-advised to think carefully about heavily one-sided arbitration clauses before including them in its agreements.
The United States District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri recently issued an opinion that could potentially have adverse implications for franchisors seeking future license fees upon early termination of a franchise agreement.