Some Thoughts on Settling Franchise Disputes

March 3, 2003 Published Work
Reprinted with permission of the Franchise Law Journal (American Bar Association), Volume 22, Number 3, Winter 2003

The rituals of contemporary civil litigation usually do not culminate in a judge crafting a carefully reasoned opinion after a bench trial or a foreperson announcing the result of a jury's thoughtful deliberations. The typical last rite is the exchange of releases and a settlement check. Sometimes this happens soon after suit is filed, more often only after the parties have slogged through expensive discovery and inconclusive motion practice, and sometimes settlement cannot be reached until trial is underway. But the anticipated denouement, sooner or later, is almost always settlement. On the increasingly rare occasions when parties invoke their constitutional right to try a case to conclusion, many judges and litigators would posit as the only plausible explanation that "someone was being unreasonable."