Driven advocacy & proven results

PROFESSIONAL ATTORNEY REVIEW FRANCHISE AGREEMENT

$45,000,000+ settlement, breach of contract, business torts

Pursued multi-forum aggressive litigation strategy to achieve a favorable settlement on behalf of a small business owner against a publicly traded multi-billion dollar Company within 3 months of the breach of contract.

$1,000,000+ savings, franchise dispute

Assisted hotel owner in Minnesota and had a franchise dispute with a publicly-traded billion dollar international Hotel Company. Achieved result through extensive legal research of Minnesota franchise law and similar franchise dispute cases to settle case for $1 million less than the original demand without litigation.

$1,000,000 settlement, breach of contract, business torts

Our firm was retained because a small business owner was unable to get his business started due to a supplier refusing to deliver items. The whole business was at risk of failure due to this supplier’s actions. We filed suit and negotiated aggressively to settle case within 3 months and the business got off the ground and our client took delivery of items valued at approximately $1 Million.

Do You Have A Case?

Let Us Stand Up For Your Rights .

$930,000 recovery of real estate, bankruptcy, creditor representation

Represented a secured creditor in a business bankruptcy. Pursued secured debt, obtained relief from bankruptcy stay to obtain real estate from bankruptcy, foreclosed property and obtained real estate for client. Real estate was appraised at approximately $930,000.

$500,000+ savings, franchise dispute

Nick Heimlich represented a franchisee hotel owner in dispute regarding liquidated damages, promissory notes, and franchise fees against a billion dollar international Hotel Company. Performed extensive factual accounting and comprehensive legal research of legal and factual defenses to settle litigation quickly and at lower cost to client. Saved client over $500,000 from the original demand of the opposing party.

$250,000+ savings, franchise dispute

Represented a hotel owner against a billion dollar publicly traded Hotel Company. Reviewed case for client including claims for liquidated damages, and breach of contract of the franchise agreement. Performed thorough legal and factual research of defenses to effectively resolve dispute for more than $250,000 less than originally demanded by the opposing party.

Real Estate Dispute among Co-Owners who are relatives, Partition lawsuit

Nick Heimlich represented an owner of real property that owned the property with a relative.  The two relatives could not agree on what to do with the property.  A lawsuit was filed to determine what would happen with the property.  After extensive negotiations, the lawsuit was settled privately and the parties agreed on what to do with the property. 

This kind of dispute where there are multiple owners of real estate that cannot agree on what to do with the property (like sell it or keep it) often leads to one party filing a type of lawsuit called Partition.  Partition is when one party is asking the Court to force the sale of the property.  Often as part of the Partition action, the party filing the lawsuit will also ask the Court for an accounting.  An Accounting claim is where the Court could determine who has put in more money into the property.  Sometimes even if there are multiple owners of real estate, one party or some parties put in more of the expenses of the real estate.  Things to account for in a real estate dispute like a partition might include the down payment for the property, the monthly payments made, who lives (if it is lived in) the property, who pays the property taxes, who pays the insurance and who has received any rental income.  Additionally, if there any extensive repairs or renovations done to the property, a party may seek reimbursement for that.

Real Estate Dispute among dating partners living together but not married, Partition Lawsuit

On multiple occasions, Nick Heimlich has represented parties who bought real estate together who were dating but not married at the time of the purchase of the real estate.  Then, when the parties broke up, they had much more to deal with than just the usual moving out, but they have to figure out what to do with the house.  Buying real estate before marriage complicates the breakup because now there is a property that is often co-owned by people who no longer get along.  Further, one or both of the parties may be on the mortgage loan.  This type of real estate partition case is then filed to have the Court help decide whether the parties should sell the property.  Often before the Court would order a sale, the Parties are able to negotiate a settlement where either the property is sold the proceeds divided as agreed upon, or one party buys another out.  I have successfully arranged situations where either the property is sold or one party buys out another party.

In addition to resolving what to do with the property, there will need to be an accounting of who has paid for the cost of the real estate, who is on the loan, any down payments, mortgage payments, property taxes, insurance, etc.  Nick Heimlich has experience in helping work with clients to get copies of relevant documents so that the Parties can resolve who has paid for what and how the monies from any sale should be split.  Sometimes, one party is also able to buy out the other party by either refinancing the loan, or with cash from other sources so no sale of the real estate has to occur.

Representing Employer against claims by Employees for Wages, Overtime, Rest Breaks, Meal Breaks

As an attorney representing many small businesses in the San Jose area, many of those employers can have claims made by former employees for claims of non-payment of wages, overtime, rest breaks, meal breaks and other claims.  Nick Heimlich has represented employers who had former employees claimed that they worked overtime hours that they were not paid for.  Overtime can apply where workers who were non-exempt and hourly were not paid for hours over 8 hours in a day, or 40 in a week or in certain other instances.  However, sometimes employees might claim they worked hours that the employer claims they did not work. 

Similarly, disputes can arise when employees claim they were not given their rest periods or meal periods and seek additional hours of pay for those missed rest or meal periods.  Nick Heimlich is aware of ways to help try to locate timekeeping records or other evidence to assess the validity of claims.  He has helped many clients resolve their lawsuits for wage and hour issues thru private settlements.  Some of those private settlements are reached thru private negotiations, and sometimes thru mediations.  Mr. Heimlich has represented clients with a single former employee, or sometimes multiple employees suing the employer at the same time.  Mr. Heimlich has represented employers in state courts in California, such as Santa Clara Superior Court, Alameda County Superior Court, and before the California Department of Labor Standards and Enforcement (DLSE) for claims regarding wages owed, meal or rest period violations and other claims.

We have experience handling claims for commissions before the Department of Labor Standards and Enforcement.

I represented a client involving a dispute about commissions owed.  The matter was before the Department of Labor Standards and Enforcement (DLSE), which is an administrative agency with the state of California.  I gained experience of dealing with the claim filing process, the hearing process and going all the way to the final award of the Labor Commissioner.  The DLSE is an alternative forum to court for filing an initial claim for many employees.  The process generally involves no fees for the employee or employer.  The hearing is less formal and takes less time to prepare for than a regular court trial.  The total legal costs in this forum is generally less and the result tends to be decided sooner that a Court might.

On another case I dealt with claims before the Department of Labor Standards and Enforcement for wages and other amounts owed.

In a case involving an employee that worked at a restaurant I dealt with a number of legal issues, including unpaid wage claims, liquidated damages for non-payment of minimum wage (under California Labor Code Section 1194.2).  There were also claims involving interest under California Labor Code Section 1194.2, additional wages under California Labor Code Section 203 as a waiting time penalty.  The case was involving a restaurant employee.  There were also tips at issue, and penalties for not providing records under California Labor Code Section 226(f).  The case went to a final award in the DLSE.  The Law Offices of Nicholas D. Heimlich has represented many employers in the DLSE proceedings.

When an employee is not paid minimum wage, Labor Code Section 1194.2 allows that employee to claim a penalty equal to the amount of unpaid minimum wages.  If wages are owed to an Employee, then under Labor Code Section 203, there is a waiting time penalty.  A waiting time penalty is basically 30 days of pay (as if you were working all 30 days, based on the hours you normally work and your final rate of pay).  Employers should be careful to make sure that all wages owed are paid to avoid penalties like Labor Code Section 1194.2 and Labor Code Section 203.

Employers and Small Businesses often need legal advice and employment law or collection issues and I have experience with that too.

Employers often have questions about issues that arise about employees.  Sometimes, clients need advice on how to deal with an unproductive employee or one that is not reliable.  I have experience guiding employers to try to create reasonable expectations of performance and asking employees to match those expectations.  I also have experience guiding clients who have tried hard to get employees to improve their performance on either having those employees quit or decide voluntarily to find different employment.  It’s best to contact a lawyer before you have terminated an employee.  It is also key that expectations and documentation be given to employees so everyone knows what is expected and the consequences for failing to perform.

Small businesses often get into a problem with a non-paying customer or vendor or similar issues.  I often try to advise clients on what to do with unpaid bills and to guide them thru the process of either getting paid.  Sometimes unpaid bills can be resolved with persistence, and other times the unpaid bills require the willingness to file suit.  However, it is always wise to try to limit the size of unpaid bills as sometimes companies or individuals will be unable to pay.  The Law Offices of Nicholas D. Heimlich has advised many individuals and companies on collections issues for unpaid invoices, unpaid bills, or loans not repaid.

If you are considering joining a Franchise, consider a legal review of the Franchise.

Mr. Heimlich has been advising clients regarding franchises for many years.  He has had the opportunity to advise clients regarding franchises for many different industries, such as fitness franchises, tutoring, child care, restaurants, personal services such as grooming.  Mr. Heimlich has advised many franchise owners on entering into a franchise, exiting franchises and legal disputes regarding them.  Mr. Heimlich has been advising franchisees and prospective franchisees since about 2007.  Mr. Heimlich been practicing law since 2004 and am admitted to the United States District Court, Northern District of California and have appeared and argued before the California Supreme Court. 

To assist clients with a franchise review, the firm must review the Franchise Disclosure Document (“FDD”) (often 200-300 pages) for relevant concerns, including the background of the franchise, the longevity of the franchise, any legal or financial concerns raised by the review of the FDD.  Reviewing the FDD is a rather complex procedure that requires looking at the document over many different parts to identify items that may be of concern. 

As a lawyer who has advised franchisees both on their contracts and litigated in Court franchise disputes, it is a good idea to have an attorney thoroughly review it before investing thousands or hundreds of thousands of dollars in the new business.  The cost of reviewing a franchise is often a small percentage of the cost of any dispute involving the franchise or the overall cost of starting a franchise business.

Have you provided outsourced employees or services to other companies?

Our firm has experience with representing clients who provide outsourced services or employees to other companies.  I have represented many clients in the high tech sector who have provided services to other high tech companies.  Many times a large company like a billion dollar high tech company will need employees to do certain roles but cannot locate employees on its own in a timely manner.  Sometimes other companies who already have people hired as employees will offer to have their employees work for another company under the employer of our client.  Our clients will of course mark up the costs and services to the other company and make a profit.  The types of services provided are sometimes very technical or information technology or similar types of services.  Sometimes there are multiple layers of companies between the largest company and the client I represent.  If some company in the chain.

The Firm has represented out of state companies who do business with California companies or whose contracts specify California as the venue for disputes.

I’ve represented companies who have done business with California entities or entities who do business in California.  The Companies may be out of Texas, New York, Massachusetts or elsewhere.  However, they signed a contract with some California company and then have a legal dispute with that entity that does business in California.  Often the contract may specify that any dispute between the parties needs to be brought in say, Santa Clara County California.  This type of clause is called a venue clause, which can force a party to bring their lawsuit or arbitration in Santa Clara County, California.  The details of where the dispute must be filed and the forum (like Arbitration or Court) depend on the contract language and the type of dispute between the parties.  For example, only certain matters can be brought in Federal Courts, and generally must have a specific legal basis to bring the suit in federal court.  In federal court (to put it simply) usually requires some federal law or that both parties be citizens of different states and that there be more than $75,000 in dispute.  This citizenship plus dollar amount in dispute is called diversity jurisdiction, which is established under Federal Law, 28 U.S.C. Section 1332.  So, if you have a contract with specific language about the legal dispute having to be in California, feel free to contact the firm.

This firm has represented business owners with disputes among shareholders or owners.

Many clients have come to Nick Heimlich to seek advice when business owners cannot get along.  I’ve helped advise clients when the owners can no longer operate the business together and sometimes cannot even talk with each other.  Many different types of businesses have disputes among owners, such as stores selling goods, or service providers (such as cleaning services, professional services, personal services, etc.).  When the owners can no longer get along, there is the question of how to resolve the dispute given the business and whether that business continues or closes.

In the cases where the business closes, Nick Heimlich has advised Companies on winding down operations.  Often, one needs to look at all the contracts signed, all vendors, customers, and even city, state and federal taxing authorities.  Then, Nick Heimlich helps to guide the owners on issues with closing the business.  Sometimes there are also legal disputes even during the winding down, or even after.  One example has been prior employees suing a business after it has closed for lost wages or other claims.  Sometimes, it may be defending or suing over a breach of contract involving the business.  These cases can often take some time and become challenging if there are multiple disputes in different legal forums.  For example, the wage cases (or other employee claims) might be before the local Superior Court, like Santa Clara County, or before the Department of Labor and Standards Enforcement (which has a location in downtown San Jose).  It is important for a closing business to realize that sometimes it will have to fight claims if the parties are seeking unreasonable sums that may not be owed by the business.  Nick has litigated cases involving closing businesses in Santa Clara County Superior Court.

In the cases where the business will continue despite the dispute, there are complicated decisions to make.  For example, who will run the business?  Is one party being bought out?  Are the owners going to split the business up (each taking some customers, etc.)?  Nick Heimlich has advised business owners in many different lines of business, such as professional services like doctors, dentists, hair stylists, contractors, high tech workers like programmers, software developers, real estate agents, real estate brokers, tutoring providers, restaurants, marketing companies, janitorial services, assisted living centers, independent living centers, group homes, food truck operators, etc.  Sometimes one business partner will be buying another out.  When someone is buying someone out, a price needs to be determined.  Sometimes, the parties can agree on a price.  Other times, an appraiser may be needed to value the business.  Some businesses can be divided up with customers being split and this avoids the need to value the business if the customers and their associated revenue are fairly well known.  The businesses will also have to deal with any liabilities, such as outstanding bills or real estate leases.  If you have a dispute and are trying to divide up a business, contact Nick Heimlich for assistance.

This firm has helped businesses deal with claims before the Labor Commissioner in California.

This content is not guaranteed and is written in March of 2024 about past events.

Are you facing a proceeding before the Labor Commissioner, in the State of California?

Nick Heimlich has experience with dealing with claims before the Labor Commissioner in California.  The Labor Commissioner helps to enforce wage and hour laws and regulations.  If you need assistance with or have been served with a claim from a former employee, then contact Nick Heimlich.

What type of experience does Nick Heimlich have?

Mr. Heimlich has handled many different cases before the labor commissioner.  For example, he has handled many cases in Santa Clara County where his office is located.  Most of the Labor Commissioner cases he has handled have been in the San Jose office of the Labor Commissioner.  One such case dealt with a variety of issues and will be discussed herein.  Actual party names are omitted to provide privacy and no specific dollars amounts are referenced for privacy.  This claim involved:

  • Wages under California Labor Code Section 98.1, and/or 2802
  • Liquidated damages under 1194.2
  • Interest pursuant to Labor Code Section 98.1, 1194.2 and/or 2802(b)
  • Additional wages pursuant to Labor Code Section 203
  • Unlawfully withheld tips
  • Penalties pursuant to Labor Code Section 226(f)
  • Post Hearing Interest as well under Labor Code Section 98.1(c), 1194.2 and/or 2802 (b)

What is Labor Code Section 98.1 about?

California Labor Code Section 98.1 discusses how an award is issued in a labor commissioner hearing.  The Award is supposed to be issued within 15 days after the hearing is concluded.  It should be filed in the Labor Commissioner’s office and then served by first class mail on the parties.  If a party does not timely file an appeal, then the decision becomes final and can be entered as a judgment in the Superior Court.  Under Labor Code Section 98.2, a party only has 10 days after service to file a notice of appeal of the Labor Commissioner’s award.  The Appeal would be filed with the Superior Court, and must also be served on the Labor Commissioner and all parties.  In order to file an appeal, if the Judgment is against the Employer, the Employer must file a bond for the amount of the Award.

Will I be liable for the employee’s attorney’s fees and costs if the appeal of the Labor Commissioner Award is unsuccessful?

Yes, under California Labor Code Section 98.2, if the party seeking a review by appeal of the Labor Commissioner Award, then the Court shall determine the costs and reasonable attorney’s fees and costs and assess that amount upon the party filing the appeal.  An employee is successful if the court awards an amount greater than zero.

Employers should be aware that they are responsible for all costs or losses that an employee incurs for working?

For example, if an employee is directed to drive someone from the job site.  Then the employer is responsible for mileage.  If an employee orders an item for the office, such as a phone, or copier, then the employer must reimburse that.  An employee can also get their attorney’s fees and costs to seek any reimbursement.  This is under California Labor Code Section 2802.

So, what should an employer do when they are given notice of a Labor Commissioner claim?

They should contact an attorney who has experience with Labor Commissioner claims.  Mr. Heimlich has handled claims in San Jose, San Francisco, and Oakland.

This firm has assisted with the review of potential new franchise agreements.

What is an example of services that the firm provides for people who are considering opening a franchise?

As an attorney, Nick Heimlich can help to review a potential franchise.  A new potential business owner is considering many things, but understanding the franchise opportunity is critical.  As an attorney, Mr. Heimlich can review the Franchise Disclosure Document (“FDD”), which is the critical document for a franchisee to review.

Why have an attorney review the Franchise Disclosure Document (“FDD”)?

The franchise that a business owner chooses to join can be a very expensive endeavor.  Often franchises can cost $25,000 to $75,000 or more just to get started.  Further, the franchise also has ongoing royalty fees (generally) in the range of 8-12% of gross revenue.  So, if a business has a $1,000,000 in revenue, that franchisee may be paying $100,000 per year.  Franchise Agreements can also be 5 to sometimes 20 years.  If a franchise is even only 10 years, this is literally a million dollar investment potentially.  In addition, franchises may also restrict the products or services you offer and require that you purchase supplies or goods from their approved sellers (or sometimes the franchise), which may cost more than other suppliers for similar goods.  If a business owner is about to spend $1 million dollars, it makes perfect sense to pay an attorney some money to help understand the transaction and its costs.

What does your firm do for a business owner that is looking to open a franchise?

As a law firm, Mr. Heimlich will review the Franchise Disclosure Document and discuss the business opportunity with the client.  While Mr. Heimlich is not creating the business, he has advised franchisees on many types of businesses, such as gyms, restaurants, hotels, auto repair or maintenance places, pest care franchises, tutoring, health care, senior care, in home care services, property management businesses.  In addition to meeting with the client to understand the client’s background, business expertise, and knowledge, Mr. Heimlich will also do the document review.  After a client meeting, Mr. Heimlich gets to work reviewing the formal Franchise Disclosure Document.  The review will write up and Mr. Heimlich will provide a written review of key points of the franchise.  Those key points are then reviewed in a meeting with Mr. Heimlich.  Mr. Heimlich then also takes on questions about potential changes or revisions to the Franchise Agreement, or just general questions.  Mr. Heimlich has many satisfied clients who have been very happy with the written review that provides a thorough understanding of the risks and rewards of a franchise.

Does it matter how long the franchise has been open?

Yes, absolutely.  If a franchise is new, or has few locations, then the business model may not have been tested during a recession or in different geographic areas.  It is important for a potential business owner to understand if a franchise has survived serious challenges.  Surviving serious challenges increases the chance that the new business being opened will survive.  This is one factor that Mr. Heimlich looks at when advising potential franchise owners.

Is the number of locations of a franchise important?  What about locations in my state or part of the state in the US?

This is very important, because the number of locations will often influence how strong a brand’s name recognition is.  We all know some of the most famous brands, like McDonalds®, or Holiday Inn®, so those will instantly create potential business and demand by joining such a franchise.  Other brands, like Chick-fil-A®, Subway®, KFC®, 7-Eleven®, Burger King®, Marriott®.  Further, the location of stores or businesses is also key because even if a brand is well known throughout the world, if people in your area are not familiar with it, then the brand may have a weakness in your area.

What about the background of the officers of the franchise, is that important?

This is an often overlooked area.  While many franchises will have people with good experience, the deepness of that experience is key.  Have the officers worked at other large franchises?  Have they grown a franchise from a small number to a large number?  Or is this their first foray into franchising?

What if the franchise has litigation or bankruptcy?

This is definitely where an attorney can help to give a businessowner key expertise.  While some business owners may be wary of a franchise with some litigation, an attorney may look at it and determine that it does not always mean that one should walk away.  A large enough franchise will inevitably have some lawsuits.  The attorney’s job is to figure out (as best as one can within reason) whether this lawsuit is indicative of a larger problem, or is it just one disgruntled franchise owner.

Can an attorney help me understand the estimated costs disclosed by the franchise?

Yes, franchises are required to provide estimates of costs to open a franchise and for various start-up items.  This is critical because the business owner will have to come up with or finance this to get the business off the ground.  For example, there are often grand opening advertising expenses, inventory, real estate lease, possibly a build-out of the premises.

What about the financial statement of the franchisor?

This is often included in the Franchise Disclosure Document and shows you something about how much money the franchise has available and its financial strength.  You want a strong franchisor that will be around for a long time to help the franchisees and guide them to success.

I’d like to get started, what is the next step?

Feel free to contact us on the web, or give us a call and we will set up a time to move this forward.  Good luck!

These are actual case resolutions. Each case is unique and the firm cannot guarantee, represent, or imply that the results of your case will be similar to the cases discussed on this site.

C O Lee Boyce Jr
C O Lee Boyce Jr
1708187295
Nick provided me sage advice with my issue. He was efficient, thoughtful, and good natured about the whole process.
David Duckworth
David Duckworth
1700157726
I recently received legal advice from Nick and he was very professional and easy to talk to. He gave us great advice and I would definitely use him again if needed. Thank you Nick!
Rebecca Bauer
Rebecca Bauer
1695770332
Nick was excellent! Very knowledgeable, asks great questions, and quickly understood the situation and was able to give great advice. I so appreciated his time, insight, and expertise in assisting with our situation. Highly recommend!
Charles Chen
Charles Chen
1694420630
Mr. Heimlich has been very responsive to my case and provided extraordinarily useful advice. Thank you!
Mario Cassara
Mario Cassara
1685657082
Nick Heimlich was very professional and knowledgeable in my case. He left a lot of the worrisome I had in my case to the expert and was very good at what he does. I will recommend Nick to anyone who needs council!Much appreciative,Mario
Taryn Harada
Taryn Harada
1682283989
This was the first time ever needing a lawyer for something, I was a bit frantic and overwhelmed with everything going on, but Nick and his team were very professional and honest, and made me feel at ease about my case. They were even professional and cool with the opposing attorney even though she was being unprofessional at times. In the end, they were able to settle my case and bring me a satisfying outcome. If you're ever in a bind and need a business lawyer, I highly recommend Nick and his team.
Jay Kamdar
Jay Kamdar
1677112007
I am an officer at a company that provides B2B Demand Generation services to marketing and sales. Over a number of years, I've worked with Nick Heimlich for legal services. He has advised me well and helped to represent the company in multiple legal disputes including in Court. I am very satisfied with his work and highly recommend him.
Rami Gideoni
Rami Gideoni
1671573652
I needed some legal consultation and per recommendation I received, I have approached Nicholas. He got back to me quickly and provided great service, he was patient, professional and knowledgeable. His advise is much appreciated, it cleared the situation, draw the next steps to follow and placed my mind to peace .I would definitely recommend his service.
I A
I A
1668466596
Nick answered all of my questions with direct and concise answers to my situation. Thank you!
Abe Honest
Abe Honest
1659056852
Mr Heimlich was very professional kind and knowledgeable when I give him a call. I was calling to hire an attorney for an tenant and landlord dispute. I had a particular issue that Mr Heimlich took time to completely listen to me. unfortunately the area I needed help was not an area that Mr Nick practiced. but he was not hesitant to give me some leads and direct me to the right place. he's a man of character and cares about what he does, I can only imagine his level of excellence in his area of expertise. he's a man of great character and I would recommend him for anyone to give him a call and talk to him. thank you very much Nick. thank you for caring .
Tilo S
Tilo S
1645581772
Nick was very helpful when I needed legal advice.Thank you!
Bay Small Moves
Bay Small Moves
1627662780
M C
M C
1567630884
I entered into a membership contract that had unreasonable cancellation requirements. I went to Nick through my company’s employee assistance program. Nick did thorough research and found that the contract term exceeded term limits allowed by California law. As a result, I was able to cancel the contract without any penalty. I was very satisfied with the outcome.
Andyn79 Nguyen
Andyn79 Nguyen
1559407271
He wasn't able to take me as a client but had about 10 mins so he told me tell me and just from that i was able to be clear and did win from really dishonest people. So i am thank you telling the truth gets it's own reward
Mark Brown
Mark Brown
1557175715
Nick was very helpful when I needed assistance dissolving an LLC. Not only did he create the appropriate documentation, but he educated me on the process. His guidance was invaluable, and everything resolved smoothly. I would certainly use his services again in the future.
Bonnie Nevitt
Bonnie Nevitt
1477002289
My family cannot thank Nick enough. We needed a business litigation attorney for a lawsuit that was going to trial, he not only took the time to understand the complexities of the case but was able to convey that to the judge. He was able to get us amazing results. Hands down the best attorney we have ever worked with.
×
js_loader
Skip to content