L. Michael Hankes  |  ATTORNEY AT LAW
tel (781) 817-5215  |  fax (781) 849-1472

Meineke Officials Seek a Free Pass in the Latest
 Version of the Meineke Franchise & Trademark Agreement
 (Part 2 of 2)

In this article's second installment, we will review some of Meineke’s alleged justifications for insisting upon a prospective general release/covenant not to sue, for which there is no legal consideration and which we believe is unlawful.

Meineke Officials Seek a Free Pass in the Latest
 Version of the Meineke Franchise & Trademark Agreement
 (Part 1 of 2)

Earlier this year, the Meineke Franchise and Trademark Agreement was updated to include a general release of liability/covenant not to sue which seeks to give a “free pass” to all past, present and future misconduct committed by corporate officers, attorneys, employees, parent corporations and controlling entities. This article is the first installment of our analysis of the legal ramifications for Meineke Dealers presented by such egregious, contractual overreaching by Roark Capital Group, Driven Brands and Meineke.

The Contractual Voice Given to Meineke Dealers by The Meineke FTA

The Meineke FTA is somewhat unique in that it provides for active Dealer participation in the franchise relationship through the Meineke Dealers Association (hereafter MDA). Section 2.5 of the Meineke FTA entitled “Consultation with the Dealer Association Advisory Council” requires Meineke to consult with the MDA and its committees. Indeed, there are fourteen (14) different aspects of representative Dealer participation in the decision making process for the Meineke system that were included in that franchise contract...

The Importance of a Consistent Advertising Program

This article examines the importance to the Meineke Dealer body of a consistent, well-conceived advertising program.

Meineke's Duty to Deliver the Meineke System

In the midst of an increasingly competitive automotive aftermarket, Meineke’s wholesale firing of its employees and corporate staff may have been so severe that it is incapable of delivery to its franchisees of the contractually required Meineke “System.”

What Was the Broussard Class Action About?

In a number of our past articles, we have made reference to the Broussard class action which was based upon allegations that Meineke misused funds paid by Dealers to Meineke for advertising. It has now been 15 years since the conclusion of the Broussard case, but the lessons learned from that landmark litigation are as relevant today as they were when the case was concluded in 1998.

Other Important Renewal Rights

In our last article, we focused on the Right to Independence as one of the important renewal rights guaranteed to Meineke Dealers who have completed fifteen (15) years in the Meineke System. There are, however, other fundamental renewal rights of which all renewing Meienke Dealers should be aware...

The Right to Independence

The current Meineke Franchise and Trademark Agreement contains an important fundamental contractual right that is unusual in franchising. The Right to Independence was created when the form 2000 Meineke FTA was negotiated in the 1999-2000 time period. [...] Its purpose was to provide long term Dealers with the opportunity to exit the Meineke System at the end of their tenure, without exposure to suit by Meineke...

Upgrade and Remodeling Requirements Under the Meineke FTA

This article describes Meineke Dealers' contractual obligations to periodically upgrade and/or remodel their Centers.

How Franchisors Attempt to Use Operations Manuals to Alter Fundamental Contract Rights – Safeguards Present in the Meineke FTA

This article addresses the concern, expressed to us by a number of Meineke Dealers, as to whether Meineke has the contractual ability to change the fundamental legal rights of franchisees by simply amending the Operations Manual.

The Right of First Refusal - The Existing Dealer's Right to Choose an Alternate Location

This article provides an overview of the Meineke Dealers' Right of First Refusal to operate potentially encroaching Meineke Centers, as granted in the Meineke FTA. This protection is triggered once an actual location for a proposed new Meineke Center is identified.

The 50,000 Motor Vehicle Protection Found in the Meineke FTA

As noted in our latest article, Meineke’s expansion plans also raise the issue of territorial encroachment. The Meineke FTA contains an unusual protection against the establishment of competing Meineke centers that is not just limited to the 2 mile radius contractually provided to a Meineke center…

Oops! We Did It Again!

Veteran Meineke Dealers may recall the article we wrote in January, 2004 about the Meineke Dealer in Brick, New Jersey whose Meineke FTA was breached in 2002 […] Almost ten years after the 2002 dispute arose, Meineke again breached the Brick, New Jersey Dealer’s Meineke FTA…

Vendor Rebates

Calendar year 2012 has ushered in significant changes to Meineke corporate’s upper echelon leadership. Following the appointment of Jonathan Fitzpatrick, Ken Walker departed on July 9, 2012. On Tuesday, August 7, 2012, a significant number of other Meineke corporate executives also departed. As the Meineke Dealers begin their relationships with Meineke’s new corporate leadership, there is no better time to review certain aspects of the Meineke FTA which set Meineke’s franchise culture apart from other franchise systems…

Developments In Contract Negotiations With Meineke

As all of you know from all the articles that have been written in recent months, representative Meineke Dealers and the MDA have been involved in contract negotiations with senior management at Meineke for nearly a year. As many of you also know, the current Meineke Franchise agreement was negotiated by a representative group of Meineke dealers in the 1999-2000 time period. Those negotiations took place following the reversal of the approximately $590 million judgment entered against Meineke and its then corporate parent…

Why All those Handicapped Ramps are So Important

When I lined up for the open­ing face off on August 24, 2008, the oppos­ing winger asked how the knee was doing. As I replied that it was a lot bet­ter than it had been when it wasn’t attached to my leg, I couldn’t help but reflect on the road I had trav­eled over the pre­vi­ous six months to make it back from an injury that should have left me barely able to walk…

The Importance of the Meineke Dealers Association to Your Franchised Business

Sev­eral years ago, I wrote an arti­cle about the impor­tance of the con­tract rights the Meineke Deal­ers Asso­ca­tion has under the Meineke Fran­chise and Trade­mark Agree­ment nego­ti­ated in 1999–2000. Mem­o­ries fade as events in time become more remote and doubt­less not every­one remem­bers that those con­tract nego­ti­a­tions were cham­pi­oned by 110 Meineke Deal­ers who per­son­ally sup­ported and funded that effort in the wake of the class action enti­tled Brous­sard et al. v. Meineke Dis­count Muf­fler Shops, Inc., et al., 155 F.3d 331(4th Cir. 1998).

Advertising: Edgy or Inappropriate?

In today’s world, as com­pa­nies com­pete to sell their prod­ucts in an increas­ingly com­pet­i­tive envi­ron­ment, adver­tis­ing, both in print and media, seeks to have impact. As adver­tis­ing strives to be “edgy”, there is often a fine line between devel­op­ing “edgy” ads that have impact and those which are inappropriate.

Brand Positioning

Much has been writ­ten about the con­cept of brand posi­tion­ing in the mod­ern mar­ket­place. This arti­cle is a gen­eral dis­cus­sion of some notions of the con­cept of “Brand Posi­tion­ing” and is not intended to be an author­i­ta­tive dis­cus­sion of the subject.

Being Prepared for Elder Care

This is not the typ­i­cal arti­cle that I write as an attor­ney, but if any of you who read it are able to effec­tively plan for the events that we faced, then it was a mes­sage worth imparting.

Dealing with Encroachment Issues in the Real World

This arti­cle describes the res­o­lu­tion of an actual encroach­ment dis­pute with­out resort to lit­i­ga­tion. It is the sec­ond part of a two part article.

The Impact of Contract Interpretation on Encroachment Issues

In this arti­cle the impact of con­tract inter­pre­ta­tion on the fran­chise rights of the deal­ers in the Meineke sys­tem is dis­cussed. This arti­cle is the first of two parts.

The Importance of Dealer Participation in the Meineke Franchise System

This arti­cle high­lights the promises in the Meineke fran­chise con­tract afford­ing Meineke deal­ers the oppor­tu­nity to have an active say in the admin­is­tra­tion of their fran­chise system.

Dealers Association Retains Legal Counsel

This arti­cle describes changes to the Meineke fran­chise con­tract made since the new agree­ment was rolled out to the Meineke deal­er­ship in 2000.

Franchisee Obtains Concessions from Days Inns

In a case that set­tled dur­ing trial in the United States Dis­trict Court in Arkansas, the fran­chisee was able to obtain sig­nif­i­cant con­ces­sions from Days Inns to com­pen­sate it for the dam­age done by encroach­ment from a new Days Inn fran­chise, which were out­lined in the Con­sent Order. The dam­ages caused to Lod­ing Devel­op­ment could eas­ily have been avoided, had Days Inns been more care­ful in the imple­men­ta­tion of its expan­sion program.