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Michael R. Gray

Mike Gray represents companies and individuals in trial, arbitration, and other civil proceedings throughout the United States. As a member of the firm’s Franchise and Distribution Practice Group, Mike is lead litigation counsel for several national franchise companies and has litigated, arbitrated, and mediated complex commercial cases in over 37 states involving all aspects of the franchise relationship with a particular expertise in noncompete enforcement.

Mike is experienced in successfully guiding clients through the dispute resolution process, whether through trial, appeal, arbitration, mediation, or negotiation. For individuals and business clients, Mike provides counsel on a wide range of issues, including employment law, contract disputes, protection and exploitation of intellectual property, trade secret protection, licensing, product liability, and distributor relations.

He has written and presented materials on franchise, litigation, and intellectual property topics for the American Bar Association, the International Franchise Association, St. Thomas University, the Minnesota Institute of Legal Education, the Business Law Institute, the Practising Law Institute, and the American Intellectual Property Law Association. In recognition of his industry-leading expertise in the area of franchise law, Mike was elected to the Governing Committee of the American Bar Association’s Forum on Franchising, where he also served as Finance Officer and Co-Chair of the 2018 ABA Forum Annual Meeting in Nashville, Tennessee, in October 2018.

Representative Experience

  • AmeriSpec, L.L.C. v. Omni Enterprises, Inc., No. 2:18-cv-02247-TLP-dkv, WL 2248459 (W.D. Tenn. 2018) (injunction enforcing post-expiration noncompete agreement against former franchisees two years after expiration of the franchise agreement)
  • ServiceMaster of Fairfax, Inc. v. ServiceMaster Residential/Commercial Servs., L.P., No. CV PX 16-02589, 2017 WL 3023342 (D. Md. July 17, 2017) (franchisor’s forum selection and choice of law provisions enforced notwithstanding Maryland franchise statute; case transferred to franchisor’s home state)
  • Outdoor Lighting Perspectives Franchising, Inc. v. Perlmutter, et al, 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 53583 (W.D.N.C. 2012) (injunction enforcing post-expiration noncompete agreement against former franchisees)
  • Outdoor Lighting Perspectives Franchising, Inc. v. Home Amenities, Inc., et al, 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 5406 (W.D.N.C. 2012) (injunction enforcing post-expiration noncompete agreement against former franchisees)
  • Holtan Holdings, Inc. v. American Pie Pizza and Salads, Inc., 2010 U.S. Dist. Lexis 112353 (D. Minn. 2010) (defendant’s motion to dismiss complaint granted)
  • Cleveland v. AmeriSpec, Bus. Franchise Guide (CCH) 14,267 (Fla. Cir. Ct. 2009) (summary judgment dismissing franchisee claims)
  • AmeriSpec v. Psaris, Bus. Franchise Guide (CCH) 14,234 (W. Tenn. 2009) (injunction enforcing post-termination noncompete agreement after half-day court trial)
  • HomeTask Handyman Services, Inc. v. Cooper, 2007 WL 3228459, Bus. Franchise Guide (CCH) 13,767 (W.D. Wash. 2007) (injunction enforcing modified noncompete agreement against former franchisee)
  • ServiceMaster v. Hooker, et al, Bus. Franchise Guide (CCH) 13,457 (W.D. Tenn. 2006) (injunction enforcing post-termination noncompete agreement against former franchisee and other nonsignatories after two-day court trial)
  • Merry Maids v. WWJD Enterprises, Inc., Bus. Franchise Guide (CCH) 13, 383 (D. Neb. 2006) (injunction enforcing post-expiration noncompete agreement against former franchisee and other nonsignatories after two-day court trial)
  • Nolan v. HCX Salons International, LLC, Bus. Franchise Guide (CCH) 13,049 (D. Minn. 2005) (order enforcing arbitration clause; franchisee’s claims dismissed)
  • Ross v. Culver Franchising System, Inc., 2004 WL 1898235 (N.D. Ill., Aug. 16, 2004) (summary judgment dismissing franchisee claims)
  • BTX Enterprises, Inc. v. The Terminix International Co., L.P. Case No. 2:02-CV-860 (S.D. Ohio 2004) (unanimous verdict in favor of franchisor after two week jury trial).
  • Furniture Medic v. Jantzen, Bus. Franchise Guide (CCH) 12,749 (D. Az. 2003) (permanent injunction enforcing post-term noncompete agreement after three-day court trial)
  • D&J Master Clean, Inc. v. The ServiceMaster Company, 181 F. Supp. 2d 821 (S.D. Ohio 2002) (denial of request for preliminary injunction against franchisor after two-day court trial)
  • AmeriSpec v. Metro Inspection Services, Inc., Bus. Franchise Guide (CCH) 12,130 (N.D. Tex. 2001) (injunction enforcing post-termination noncompete agreement)
  • ServiceMaster v. Proctor, Bus. Franchise Guide (CCH) 12,251, 12,252 (D. Neb. 2001) (injunction enforcing post-termination noncompete agreement after two-day court trial)
  • Shade’s Landing, Inc. v. Williams, 76 F. Supp. 2d 983 (D. Minn. 1999) (denial of injunction in domain name dispute)

Court Memberships

  • U.S. District Court District of Colorado
  • U.S. District Court Northern District of Illinois
  • U.S. District Court Eastern District of Michigan
  • U.S. District Court Western District of Michigan
  • U.S. District Court District of Minnesota
  • U.S. District Court Western District of Tennessee
  • U.S. District Court Eastern District of Wisconsin
  • U.S. District Court Western District of Wisconsin
  • U.S. Court of Appeals Fourth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals Sixth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals Eighth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals Ninth Circuit
  • Supreme Court Minnesota

Honors

  • Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business, Franchise, 2016–2019
  • AV® Preeminent™ Peer Review Rated from Martindale-Hubbell
  • The International Who’s Who of Franchise Lawyers, 2010–2019
  • BTI Client Service All-Star, 2014, 2016–2017
  • “Minnesota Super Lawyer®,” Thomson/Reuters, 2006–2019
  • The Best Lawyers in America©, 2010–2020
  • “Legal Eagles Hall of Fame,” Franchise Times
  • “Legal Eagle,” Franchise Times, 2007–2019

Professional Affiliations

  • American Bar Association Forum on Franchising, Governing Committee
  • Federal Bar Association
  • International Franchise Association, Legal/Legislative Committee
  • Minnesota State Bar Association

Community Involvement

  • Volunteer Lawyers Network, Pro Bono Volunteer
  • Church of The Open Door, Publishing Review Committee, Member
  • Crab Lake Conservation Foundation, Vice President, Board of Directors

Publications

  • “Intellectual Property Issues in Franchising,” Chapter 20, Intellectual Property Deskbook for the Business Lawyer: A Transactions-Based Guide to Intellectual Property, Fourth Edition, March 2019
  • “Why Franchisors Should be Concerned With Massachusetts HB4045,” Franchising World, May 19, 2014
  • “Annual Franchise and Distribution Law Developments 2013,” American Bar Association Forum on Franchising, January 2013
  • “Intellectual Property Issues in Franchising,” Intellectual Property Deskbook for the Business Lawyer, American Bar Association Business Law Section (3rd ed. 2013)
  • “Advanced Trademark Annual Review 2012,” Practising Law Institute, January 2012
  • “Covenants Against Competition in Franchise Agreements,” American Bar Association Forum on Franchising, Michael R. Gray and Natalma M. McKnew, editors (3rd ed. 2012).
  • "Franchise Desk Book," American Bar Association Forum on Franchising, W. Michael Garner ed, 2nd ed 2008

Presentations

  • "Noncomplete Enforcement Today: Slam Dunk of Red Zone Problem?" American Bar Association 42nd Annual Forum on Franchising, Denver, Colorado, October 2019
  • “Plowing New Ground – Litigating Selected Disclosure Issues Beyond Item 19,” American Bar Association 39th Annual Forum on Franchising, Miami, Florida, November 1, 2016
  • “Who Owns the Goodwill in a Franchise,” American Bar Association 38th Annual Forum on Franchising, New Orleans, Louisiana, October 14, 2015
  • Franchise Joint Employer and Vicarious Liability Threats: Practical Steps to Minimize Risk, March 18, 2015
  • “Franchise Joint Employer and Vicarious Liability Threats: Practical Steps to Minimize Risk,” co-panelist, GPM Franchise & Distribution Practice Group Webinar, March 18, 2015
  • ABA's 36th Annual Forum on Franchising, October 16, 2013
  • "Annual Franchise and Distribution Law Developments 2013", American Bar Association 36th Annual Forum on Franchising, Orlando, Florida, October 1, 2013
  • “Extraterritorial Reach of the Lanham Act,” American Intellectual Property Law Association Annual Meeting, Washington DC, October 26, 2012
  • “Extraterritorial Application of the Lanham Act,” Practising Law Institute, New York, New York, May 1, 2012
  • “Distressing Transfers in Troubled Times: Thorny Issues in Transferring Financially Troubled Franchisees,” IFA'S 51st Annual Convention, Las Vegas, Nevada, February 15, 2011
  • “Frequent Arising Issues in Litigation,” 43rd Annual IFA Legal Symposium, Washington, DC, May 10, 2010
  • “Non-Competes: Should We Use One?,” International Franchise Association 41st Annual Legal Symposium, Washington, DC, May 1, 2008
  • “Managing Litigation Costs,” International Franchise Association 48th Annual Convention, Orlando, Florida, February 1, 2008
  • “FACTA and Franchising: Are Your Franchisees Truncating Credit Card Numbers?,” International Franchise Association 48th Annual Convention, Orlando, Florida, January 1, 2008
  • “The Legal Aspects of Franchising,” Guest Lecturer, Northwestern College Entrepreneurship Class, St. Paul, Minnesota, September 1, 2007
  • “Exit Strategies: Getting Your Franchise Ready to Sell,” International Franchise Association 47th Annual Convention, Las Vegas, Nevada, February 1, 2007
  • “The Enforcement of Covenants Against Competition,” American Bar Association 28th Annual Forum on Franchising, Orlando, Florida, October 1, 2005
  • “Noncompetition and Confidentiality Agreements,” Gray Plant Mooty Corporate Counsel Breakfast Group, Minneapolis, Minnesota, September 1, 2005
  • “Frequently Arising Issues in Litigation,” International Franchise Association 38th Annual Legal Symposium, Washington, DC, May 1, 2005
  • “Enforcing System Standards While Minimizing Franchisor Liability,” Gray Plant Mooty Seminar, Minneapolis, Minnesota, June 1, 2004
  • “When the Relationship Sours: Advising Clients in Troubled Distribution, Franchise and Joint Venture Relationships,” Business Law Institute, Minneapolis, Minnesota, August 1, 2002
  • “Terminating the Relationship—Common Mistakes and Preventive Measures,” International Franchise Association Legal Roundtable, Denver, Colorado, March 1, 2001

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