Robert S. Boulter has litigated many significant franchise cases. Some are noted below, click on the case name to view the case. Please call or e-mail if you have any questions on the cases below.
In Bridge Fund Capital Corp. v. Fastbucks Franchise Corp. Robert’s work at his previous firm (Lagarias & Boulter L.L.P.) was instrumental in securing a significant victory for franchisees before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. In that case, the Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court’s decision that the arbitration clause was unenforceable and that California law applied despite a Texas choice of law provision of the agreement. In addition, the court adopted the argument that there is no requirement that a party challenge an arbitration clause in the party’s complaint — a challenge presented for the first time in an opposition to a motion to compel can and should be ruled upon by a court of law.
In Prudence Corp. v. Shred-It America, Inc. 2010 WL 582597 (9th Cir. 2010) the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed an order renewing a franchise on the original terms where the franchisor sought to delay renewal and take advantage of the delay to negotiate better terms. The Court also upheld a substantial award of attorney’s fees and costs in excess of $100,000.
McGuire v. CoolBrands Smoothies Franchise, LLC involved the successful representation of a franchisee in the defense of a franchisor’s motion to compel arbitration based on an arbitration clause in a franchise agreement. The trial court found that the arbitration clause was unenforceable and that California law applied despite a New York choice of law provision of the agreement. The franchisor appealed and the California Court of Appeals affirmed the ruling in full.
Independent Ass’n of Mailbox Center Owners, Inc. v. Superior Court 133 Cal.App.4th 396, 34 Cal.Rptr.3d 659 (2005), ), involved the successful representation of franchisees in the defense of a franchisor’s motion to enforce an unconscionable an arbitration clause in a franchise agreement. The Court of Appeal held that such a clause could not be used to force franchisees to litigate their claims on an individual basis as opposed to group actions and/or class actions. The Court of Appeal also and struck down provisions improperly limiting damages and statutes of limitations.
Husain v. McDonald’s Corp., 205 Cal. App. 4th 860, 140 Cal. Rptr. 3d 370 (2012). In this case, McDonald’s sought to terminate certain franchises alleging they had expired. Representing the franchisee, Robert S. Boulter successfully urged the trial court to stay the termination pending a motion for preliminary injunction. The franchisees ultimately prevailed on the full preliminary injunction motion and that decision was affirmed on appeal. In the first case of its kind and rejecting previous arguably contradictory cases, the Court of Appeals rejected McDonald’s argument that the franchise agreement was a personal service contract that could not be subject to specific performance.