Previous Expert Witness Testimony
In addition to over 40 years of practice as a franchise attorney and consultant, Chuck Modell has been retained several times over the past 15 years as an expert witness. Below are examples of the cases in which he has participated as an expert witness.
- Testimony on behalf of quick-service franchise system, given in Federal District Court in Connecticut – Chuck testified on behalf of the owner of a sandwich system comprised of more than 1,000 franchised outlets with respect to the custom and practices of franchisors in the administration of their advertising funds, and the disclosure requirements related to franchise advertising funds. The franchisees in the system challenged the franchisor’s ability to manage the fund as the franchisor felt appropriate. The franchisor presented only three witnesses, the founder and CEO of the Company, the person in charge of the administration of the Advertising Fund, and me. The Court ruled in favor of the franchisor, finding that it had the right to administer the Advertising Fund, rejecting the claims of the franchisee.
- Retained by a large franchisor of pizza outlets in a case in Washington State Court. The case was brought against the franchisor by more than 30 franchisees. Chuck was retained to testify as to the completeness of financial performance representations contained in Item 19 of the franchisor’s Franchise Disclosure Documents over a number of years. He issued his report, and his deposition was taken. Thereafter, all of the cases settled prior to trial.
- Retained by a franchisee for an arbitration scheduled in Florida to testify as to deficiencies in a financial performance representation that mixed and matched sample groups of franchisees and failed to account for numerous expenses, thus presenting a misleading picture to prospective franchisees as to the level of operating profits being achieved by franchisees in the system and the level of revenues needed to achieve the results shown. Chuck’s report was used in early mediation to help the franchisee achieve a very favorable settlement.
- Retained on behalf of a Florida-based franchise company that provides restoration services to testify in two cases brought before three-person arbitration panels in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, as to the completeness of the disclosures made by the franchisor regarding fees and termination provisions of its franchise agreements, as described in Franchise Disclosure Documents. The panel ruled in favor of the franchisor in the first case, and the second case was thereafter settled.
- Retained by a large quick-service franchisor for an arbitration held in New York City. The plaintiffs complained about the franchisor’s supplier requirements, and rebates received from suppliers and the adequacy of the disclosures related to those issues in the Franchise Disclosure Documents. Following the completion of Chuck’s testimony at the hearing, the case was resolved in a manner very satisfactory to the franchisor.
- Testified in a Zoom arbitration on behalf of a small franchisor of frozen deserts as to the completeness of disclosures in its Franchise Disclosure Documents, with an emphasis on the financial performance representations contained in Item 19. Chuck prepared reports in three different arbitration actions, one held in Arizona, and two scheduled in Texas. Soon after the issuance of his reports, the two Texas actions settled. He testified in the Arizona arbitration, and the arbitrator ruled in favor of the franchisor.
- Retained by a franchisor in a legal malpractice action against the attorney who was retained to prepare that company’s franchise documents and register them with the Minnesota Department of Commerce. The action was venued in Minnesota State Court. After the submission of Chuck’s initial report, the case was resolved by summary judgment on different issues raised by the defendant law firm.