Practice Focus — Class Action

Bryan Cave has a national reputation for excellence in defending class and derivative actions. We represent a wide range of business clients – including service, financial, retail, and manufacturing – in a variety of franchising, consumer, commercial, product liability, securities, intellectual property and environmental class actions.

Bryan Cave's class action practice is distinguished by:

  • its national scope;
  • the breadth and depth of our class action experience;
  • our ability to effectively develop sensible and meaningful strategies to defend our clients;
  • our ability to implement our clients’ objectives; and
  • our use of cutting-edge litigation technology.

The approximately 100 lawyers in our Class and Derivative Actions Client Service Group handle several hundred class action and multi-jurisdictional cases across the U.S. at any one time. As a national practice, this client service group utilizes lawyers from all of the firm’s U.S. offices. Class action lawyers practice in state and federal courts throughout the country, including class action "hot-beds" such as California, Southern Illinois, Mississippi and Texas. We regularly lead and coordinate litigation in multiple forums simultaneously. Whether a case is filed in Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, St. Louis or Philadelphia, we are prepared to defend.

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Practice Focus — Litigation & ADR

Bryan Cave's litigation and dispute resolution practice is considerable and broad-based. We have litigated and arbitrated matters involving all aspects of the franchise relationship throughout the United States. Some of the issues we have handled include: allegations of wrongful termination and failing to renew; allegations of RICO violations; claims of advertising fund impropriety; antitrust tying claims; claims arising out of supplier restrictions and rebates; claims of fraud; claims of breach of contract and alleged lack of good faith and fair dealing. We also have handled claims arising out of system acquisitions and divestitures; allegations of violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act; allegations of violations of various state consumer protection laws; class actions claims; claims implicating potential vicarious liability for franchised outlets; encroachment claims and boundary disputes.

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Practice Focus — Mergers & Acquisitions

Our franchise transactional attorneys have participated in many significant corporate transactions including billion dollar mergers; acquisitions; securitizations; and spin-off transactions. Our involvement has ranged from full representation of the acquiring or selling parties to being engaged as special counsel by other multinational law firms to conduct detailed and specialized diligence investigations on behalf of acquirors, lenders, investors, and underwriting counsel. Our deep experience enables us to probe the prior activities of companies engaged in franchising and licensing, and to meticulously and efficiently assess the level of legal compliance or non-compliance, analyze and report on the risks and potential exposure facing these companies, and provide advice and strategies for addressing and resolving these risks.

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Practice Focus — Regulatory

Bryan Cave has the capability, expertise and experience to confront and resolve regulatory inquiries and investigations into our franchisor clients, on both a state-by-state and federal basis. Our franchise and distribution lawyers actively communicate with state regulators and enjoy long-standing professional relationships with lawyers who are charged with enforcement of franchise laws at the Federal Trade Commission and in various states.

Our franchise and distribution team has represented franchisors with respect to inquiry letters and formal investigations by applicable regulatory agencies in many states. We also regularly work with state administrators to obtain discretionary exemptions, clarifications of the franchise laws and resolution of potential violations and enforcement actions at the earliest stage before formal governmental action.

In addition to our franchise and distribution team, the firm has a full team of regulatory and compliance lawyers with experience working on both sides of government and compliance issues. A number of other lawyers have longstanding relationships with key congressional members, staff of the Federal Trade Commission and other state and federal agencies. As appropriate, these resources are marshaled to respond to issues ranging from initial inquiry letters to full blown investigations.

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Practice Focus — Transactional

Bryan Cave's depth of knowledge and history in the franchise community enable us to bring thoughtful experience to our client’s franchise and distribution networks. It also allows us to provide franchise systems with: state-of-the-art techniques for updating franchise contracts and disclosure documents; counseling on the unique challenges faced by systems with numerous renewing or expiring franchisees; a “partner” to assist with franchise law compliance; advice and counsel on new policies and methods to implement system change; advice and strategies on expansion in alternate channels of distribution and/or in new formats; and resources to assess and handle potential merger and acquisition opportunities.

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