Mr. Kaplan has represented a broad range of franchisors and distributors in over 40 different systems. Through negotiation, mediation, arbitration, and aggressively litigating in court, Mr. Kaplan has resolved hundreds of disputes in nearly every area of franchising, including registration and disclosure, franchise compliance, termination, franchisee associations, vicarious liability, encroachment, advertising funds, antitrust, tortious interference, unfair competition, trade secrets and trademark protection.
Mr. Kaplan also provides guidance and assistance in complying with franchise regulations and laws. He has prepared franchise disclosure documents and handles annual franchise renewals. In the drafting of franchise disclosure documents, Mr. Kaplan often works with attorneys that concentrate their practice in franchise registration by providing them assistance in revising documents to reflect changes in the law and to reduce litigation exposure. He also has prepared and revises ancillary franchise documents such as lease addendums, SBA documents, broker agreements, trademark licenses, confidentiality and non-disclosure agreements, documentation to buy or sell franchise brands and businesses, personal guarantees, and default and termination agreements.
Examples of dispute resolution for matters Mr. Kaplan has handled on behalf of franchisors includes the following:
- Representation of national Mexican restaurant franchisor in Federal Lawsuit seeking injunctive relief and monetary damages for breach of multiple franchise agreements and franchisees’ operation of competing businesses after termination of franchise agreements and for violation of post-term restrictive covenants, trademark infringement and misappropriation of trade secrets. Defense against counterclaims seeking rescission, compensatory and punitive damages for alleged fraud and violation of the Illinois Franchise Disclosure Act.
- Representation of numerous “accidental” franchisors, offering and selling franchises without a disclosure document in actions with regulators and franchisees.
- Representation of regional pizza franchisors in their litigation, arbitration and mediations with franchisees in actions to enforce post-term restrictive covenants, monetary damages, and system compliance brought in Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota and Texas. Also includes defending against claims of breach of contract, and alleged violations of various disclosure statutes, deceptive trade practices acts, and Bankruptcy non-dischargeability proceedings.
- Representation of national oil change franchisor in all its enforcement proceedings including lawsuits to enforce system standards and for collection of royalty and advertising fees.
- Representation of national automobile aftermarket franchisor in all of its litigation with franchisees, including temporary restraining orders, preliminary and permanent injunctions, claims for past due royalty and marketing contributions, use of unapproved products, failure to properly report revenue, unauthorized transfers of franchised businesses, wrongful termination, disclosure violations, claims of deceptive practice, encroachment, and unauthorized financial performance representations.
- Representation of restaurant franchisor with over 1,600 locations in its litigation in Illinois to enforce system standards, including injunction action to restrain the use of unauthorized products and distributors.
- Representation of children’s art class franchisor in its litigation to enforce post-term restrictions and for monetary damages.
- Representation of furniture and automobile restoration franchise in litigation to enforce post-term restrictive covenants, unapproved products and failure to report sales.
- Representation of cell phone repair franchisor in rescission actions for disclosure violations.
- Representation of insurance franchisor in lawsuit alleging violations of disclosure laws for allegedly not disclosing all fees.
- Representation of children’s furniture franchisor in litigation brought by largest franchisee alleging disclosure violations and breach of contract.
- Representation of Illinois master franchisee of janitorial service in its mediation and litigation to enforce post-term restrictions.
- Representation of Canadian Asian food franchisor in actions in Illinois to enforce post-term restrictions.