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If a franchisor's method of operation contributed to an injury at a franchisee's location, the franchisor may be found liable.

Franchisors vicariously liable for their franchisees?

Entrepreneur Magazine has an interesting article about whether franchisors are vicariously liable for their franchisees’ actions or incidents happening at their franchisees’ locations. The answer is "maybe but probably not". Naturally, a plaintiff’s attorney whose client slipped and fell in a McDonald’s is going to want to go after the parent company as well as the individual franchisee. Or, a client who feels they were discriminated against will want to sue the corporate headquarters of McDonald’s, not just the franchisee. The plaintiff victim would have to argue that the franchisor’s training and standards of operations contributed to the injury.

For example, if a customer burned themselves using a self-serve coffee station at a Panera Bread, and the coffee pot’s dangerous position was directed by Panera’s operations manual, then an argument can be made that Panera Bread contributed to the burn and is financially liable.

Hat Tip Franchise Law Blog

About Ryan Knoll

Attorney and advisor with an interest in franchising. Feel free to email me comments and questions on the "Contact Us" page.

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