Peter J. Klarfeld

Principal
Peter J. Klarfeld Image
Direct: 202.295.2226

Support Staff

Robert Kass
Direct: 202.295.2214

Peter is a principal in Gray Plant Mooty's Franchise & Distribution practice group. For more than 35 years, he has focused his practice on counseling franchisors in connection with their franchising activities and representing them in arbitration and in litigation involving issues of systemwide concern. In doing so, he has formulated and presented legal arguments that have enabled some of the nation's largest franchisors to successfully resolve issues of particular importance to the development of their franchising programs and to the maintenance of the integrity of their franchise systems. Peter was also editor-in-chief of the 1992 and 2003 editions of COVENANTS AGAINST COMPETITION IN FRANCHISE AGREEMENTS, published by the American Bar Association's Forum on Franchising, a 50-state survey of issues involved in the enforcement of covenants against competition in the franchise setting, and he has extensive experience in the litigation of those issues. He served on the Governing Committee of the American Bar Association’s Forum on Franchising from 2007-2010 and was Co-Chair of the Forum’s Annual Meeting in 2008.

Peter previously served in the U.S. Department of Justice as an attorney-advisor in the Office of Legal Counsel. He was also a trustee and chairman of the Dalkon Shield Other Claimants Trust. Additionally, Peter served as a law clerk to the Honorable Robert R. Merhige Jr. in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia.

Experience

  • In Baskin-Robbins Franchising LLC v. Alpenrose Dairy, Inc., obtained reversal by the First Circuit Court of Appeals of a decision by the District Court that a territorial franchisee headquartered in Oregon was not subject to personal jurisdiction in Massachusetts because the franchisor had moved to Massachusetts after the franchise agreement was signed
  • In H&R Block Tax Services LLC v. Acevedo-López, which arose out of the termination of a multi-unit franchisee in Puerto Rico, obtained vacation by the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals of the District Court’s denial of the franchisor’s motion for a preliminary injunction, resulting in a clarification of the standard for awarding preliminary injunctive relief in the Eighth Circuit; following remand, obtained summary judgment for the franchisor on all of the claims and counterclaims in the case, resulting in an award to the franchisor of more than $1.3 million in damages, plus its attorneys’ fees, and the entry of a two-year injunction running from the date of the judgment enforcing the franchisee’s post-termination covenant against competition
  • In H&R Block Tax Services LLC v. Franklin, obtained reversal by the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals of summary judgment entered by the district court, establishing an important refinement of Missouri law regarding automatic renewal rights
  • In Hardee’s Food Systems, Inc. v. Hallbeck, won summary judgments upholding the franchisor’s right to pursue a claim for lost future profits against a franchisee that had abandoned its unit and dismissing the franchisee’s claim that the franchisor had breached the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing by approving a controversial advertising campaign that the franchisee alleged had damaged its business
  • In Wild v. H&R Block Tax Services LLC, obtained a unanimous award from a panel of three arbitrators upholding the franchisor’s right to require its franchisee to use new technology that was not anticipated or directly addressed when the franchise agreement was drafted
  • In JBW Partnership v. H&R Block, Inc., won a favorable jury verdict in an extended state court trial over the valuation of one of the franchisor’s oldest and largest franchisees as part of a contractual purchase upon nonrenewal, leading to the favorable settlement of nearly a dozen similar cases
  • In Franklin 1989 Revocable Family Trust v. H&R Block, Inc., won a favorable award in precedent-setting arbitration challenging the franchisor’s distribution of services through new technologies
  • In Armstrong v. H&R Block, Inc., won, and successfully defended on appeal, summary judgment declaring that franchise agreement language providing for unlimited “automatic” renewals did not create enforceable perpetual agreements and that agreements containing that language would expire at the end of their current terms
  • In National JBX Franchisee Association, Inc., et al. v. Foodmaker, Inc., successfully represented the franchisor of the JACK IN THE BOX chain against claims brought by its franchisee association and most of its franchisees individually alleging, among other claims, improper handling of supplier promotional payments and interference with franchisees’ rights of association
  • In Romano v. MRO Mid-Atlantic Corp., et al., and related cases, successfully defended multiple lawsuits challenging a decision by the franchisor of the ROY ROGERS chain to sell all of its company-owned restaurants to competitors
  • In S&R Corp. v. Jiffy Lube Int’l, represented the International Franchise Association as amicus curiae in the seminal federal appellate case establishing that a franchisee’s claim of prior breach by its franchisor could not block termination of the franchise based on the franchisee’s failure to pay royalties
  • In Test Services, Inc. v. The Princeton Review, Inc., won a federal district court bench trial resulting in the dismissal of all of a large franchisee’s attacks on a requirement in its franchise agreements that it enter into the franchisor’s current form of franchise agreement if the franchisee wished to exercise an option to renew
  • In Burger King Corp. v. Hardee’s Food Systems, et al., won summary judgment for the defendant franchisor in an action challenging its refusal to allow one of its franchisees to transfer 39 franchised restaurants to a competitive system
  • In H&R Block, Inc. v. Rezzonico, won summary judgment in a federal district court on more than a dozen claims by the franchisor growing out of a scheme by a franchisee to conceal and evade royalties on business done through a competitive business and more than half a dozen claims by the franchisee in response, and obtained dismissal of the franchisee’s appeal of those rulings and denial of the franchisee’s petition for certiorari to the United States Supreme Court
  • In Boddie Noell Ents. v. Hardee’s Food Systems, Inc., obtained a unanimous award from a panel of three arbitrators establishing the franchisor’s right to deny further development rights to one of its largest franchisees that had developed a competing chain that did not operate in the areas prohibited by its covenants not to compete
  • In Marc’s Big Boy Corp. v. Marriott Corp., successfully argued against issuance of an injunction sought by a franchisee to prevent the franchisor of the BIG BOY restaurant system from assigning the franchisor’s rights and obligations under all of the system’s franchise agreements to another franchisee
  • Successfully represented several franchisors in system-wide litigation brought by their franchisee associations
  • In Philadelphia Fast Foods, Inc. v. Popeyes Famous Fried Chicken, Inc., won a jury verdict rejecting claims under Sections 1 and 2 of the Sherman Act and denial of the plaintiff's motion for judgment notwithstanding the verdict
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