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March 18, 2016

Message From the Editor-in-Chief

Corby Anderson, Nexsen Pruet, LLP

The ABA Forum on Franchising’s annual meeting in New Orleans gave us a great opportunity to make or renew friendships, learn about developments in our field, hear key decision makers’ views on issues that are important to the future of franchising, celebrate the lives of those who left us over the past year, recognize the accomplishments of colleagues, welcome newcomers to the Forum, and, of course, enjoy beignets!

To those of you who wrote for The Franchise Lawyer over the past year, I extend a huge and heartfelt thanks. Please continue to write for us and to send ideas for articles our way. A special congratulations to Keri McWilliams, of Nixon Peabody, who was honored in New Orleans with the Chair’s Award for Substantial Written Work for her article in The Franchise Lawyer on PCI Compliance: What Franchisors Need to Know.

What You Will Find in this Issue

In this issue of The Franchise Lawyer, you will read about California’s recently enacted amendment to its Franchise Relations Act, which grants substantial new rights to franchisees and changes the landscape for franchisor-franchisee relations in that state. Immediately following this article, a commentary considers some of the unintended consequences of the new California law – including, in particular, its effect on the prospects for federal pre-emption of the current patchwork of franchise regulation.

You will also read a summary of comments by Richard Griffin, General Counsel for the National Labor Relations Board, and David Weil, Administrator of the Labor Department’s Wage and Hour Division, on why the franchise model is “in the hot seat” when it comes to joint employer liability. This recap of the plenary session in New Orleans offersinsights into the thinking of those who are at the heart of this debate.

In addition, you will read about the onetwo punch that the courts have delivered to the International Franchise Association and Seattle franchisees who sought to enjoin enforcement of the city’s new minimum wage ordinance. This issue’s Corporate Counsel Corner column offers insights for franchisors on developing an expansion plan and addressing encroachment concerns.

On the international front, you will read about a new Australian law aimed at protecting small businesses from onerous contract terms – including terms of franchise agreements, which appear to be squarely in the sights of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.

And you will read an analysis of whether drivers for Uber Technologies, Inc. are employees (as plaintiffs claim in a class action set to be tried in June) or whether they may be deemed franchisees under the laws of certain states.

New Feature : Member Spotlight

Finally, this issue introduces a new “Member Spotlight” feature, aimed at helping you get to know fellow Forum members better. Our first “Spotlight” features Andra Terrell of Luxottica Group S.p.A (Pearle Vision). Do you have a comment? A question? A suggestion? We look forward to hearing from you.

Corby Anderson, Nexsen Pruet, LLP