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Peter J. Klarfeld

Described in Chambers USA as a “polished, trenchant, and persuasive advocate,” Peter Klarfeld is a partner in the firm's Franchise & Distribution Practice Group. For more than 35 years, he has focused his practice on counseling franchisors in connection with their franchising activities and representing them in arbitration and in litigation involving issues of systemwide concern. In doing so, he has formulated and presented legal arguments that have enabled some of the nation's largest franchisors to successfully resolve issues of particular importance to the development of their franchising programs and to the maintenance of the integrity of their franchise systems.

Peter was editor-in-chief of the 1992 and 2003 editions of Covenants Against Competition in Franchise Agreements, published by the American Bar Association's Forum on Franchising, a 50-state survey of issues involved in the enforcement of covenants against competition in the franchise setting, and he has extensive experience in the litigation of those issues. Peter also served on the Governing Committee of the American Bar Association’s Forum on Franchising from 2007-2010, and was Co-Chair of the Forum’s Annual Meeting in 2008.

Peter previously served in the U.S. Department of Justice as an attorney advisor in the Office of Legal Counsel. He was also a trustee and chairman of the Dalkon Shield Other Claimants Trust. Additionally, Peter served as a law clerk to the Honorable Robert R. Merhige Jr. in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia.

Representative Experience

  • In Devore v. H&R Block Tax Services LLC and Todd v. H&R Block Services LLC (consolidated), 2018 WL 1942384 (C.D. Cal. Mar. 29, 2018), obtained summary judgment dismissing claims by franchisees who had sued their franchisor for alleged wrongful termination and granting judgment for the franchisor on its counterclaims for breach of in-term covenants against competition.
  • In Association of Independent BR Franchise Owners v. Baskin-Robbins Franchising, LLC, 2017 WL 4314607 (D. Mass. Sept. 27, 2017), obtained final judgment in a “case stated proceeding” rejecting the claim of an association of franchisees that Baskin-Robbins’s pricing arrangements with the designated supplier of its proprietary ice cream products breached the franchise agreements of the association’s members.
  • In Baskin-Robbins Franchising LLC v. Alpenrose Dairy, Inc., 825 F. 3d 28 (1st Cir. 2016), obtained reversal by the First Circuit Court of Appeals of a decision by the District Court that a territorial franchisee headquartered in Oregon was not subject to personal jurisdiction in Massachusetts because the franchisor had moved to Massachusetts after the franchise agreement was signed.
  • In H&R Block Tax Services LLC v. Acevedo-López, 742 F. 3d 1074 (8th Cir. 2014), which arose out of the termination of a multi-unit franchisee in Puerto Rico, obtained vacation by the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals of the District Court’s denial of the franchisor’s motion for a preliminary injunction, resulting in a clarification of the standard for awarding preliminary injunctive relief in the Eighth Circuit; following remand, obtained summary judgment for the franchisor on all of the claims and counterclaims in the case, resulting in an award to the franchisor of more than $1.3 million in damages, plus its attorneys’ fees, and the entry of a two-year injunction running from the date of the judgment enforcing the franchisee’s post-termination covenant against competition.
  • In H&R Block Tax Services LLC v. Franklin, 691 F. 3d 941 (8th Cir. 2012), obtained reversal by the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals of summary judgment entered by the district court, establishing an important refinement of Missouri law regarding automatic renewal rights.
  • In Hardee’s Food Systems, Inc. v. Hallbeck, Bus. Fran. Guide (CCH) 14,809 (W.D. Mo. Feb. 28, 2012), obtained summary judgments upholding the franchisor’s right to pursue a claim for lost future profits against a franchisee that had abandoned its unit and dismissing the franchisee’s claim that the franchisor had breached the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing by approving a controversial advertising campaign that the franchisee alleged had damaged its business.
  • In Wild v. H&R Block Tax Services LLC, Bus. Fran. Guide (CCH) 14,718 (AAA June 15, 2011), obtained a unanimous award from a panel of three arbitrators upholding the franchisor’s right to require its franchisee to use new technology that was not anticipated or directly addressed when the franchise agreement was drafted.
  • In JBW Partnership v. H&R Block, Inc., obtained a favorable jury verdict in an extended state court trial over the valuation of one of the franchisor’s oldest and largest franchisees as part of a contractual purchase upon nonrenewal, leading to the favorable settlement of nearly a dozen similar cases.
  • In Franklin 1989 Revocable Family Trust v. H&R Block, Inc., obtained a favorable award in precedent‑setting arbitration challenging the franchisor’s distribution of services through new technologies.
  • In Armstrong v. H&R Block, Inc., 96 S.W.3d 867 (Mo. App. 2002), obtained, and successfully defended on appeal, summary judgment declaring that franchise agreement language providing for unlimited “automatic” renewals did not create enforceable perpetual agreements and that agreements containing that language would expire at the end of their current terms.
  • In National JBX Franchisee Association, Inc., et al. v. Foodmaker, Inc., successfully represented the franchisor of the JACK IN THE BOX chain against claims brought by its franchisee association and most of its franchisees individually alleging, among other claims, improper handling of supplier promotional payments and interference with franchisees’ rights of association.
  • In Romano v. MRO Mid-Atlantic Corp., et al., and related cases, successfully defended multiple lawsuits challenging a decision by the franchisor of the ROY ROGERS chain to sell all of its company-owned restaurants to competitors.
  • In S&R Corp. v. Jiffy Lube Int’l, 968 F.2d 371 (3d Cir. 1992), represented the International Franchise Association as amicus curiae in the seminal federal appellate case establishing that a franchisee’s claim of prior breach by its franchisor could not block termination of the franchise based on the franchisee’s failure to pay royalties.
  • In Test Services, Inc. v. The Princeton Review, Inc., 2005 WL 3211594 (D. Colo. Nov., 29, 2005), obtained a verdict for the franchisor in a federal district court bench trial resulting in the dismissal of all of a large franchisee’s attacks on a requirement in its franchise agreements that it enter into the franchisor’s current form of franchise agreement if the franchisee wished to exercise an option to renew.
  • In Burger King Corp. v. Hardee’s Food Systems, et al., obtained summary judgment for the defendant franchisor in an action challenging its refusal to allow one of its franchisees to transfer 39 franchised restaurants to a competitive system.
  • In H&R Block, Inc. v. Rezzonico, 182 F.3d 144 (2d Cir. 1999), obtained summary judgment in a federal district court on more than a dozen claims by the franchisor growing out of a scheme by a franchisee to conceal and evade royalties on business done through a competitive business and more than half a dozen claims by the franchisee in response, and obtained dismissal of the franchisee’s appeal of those rulings and denial of the franchisee’s petition for certiorari to the United States Supreme Court.
  • In Boddie Noell Ents. v. Hardee’s Food Systems, Inc., obtained a unanimous award from a panel of three arbitrators establishing the franchisor’s right to deny further development rights to one of its largest franchisees that had developed a competing chain that did not operate in the areas prohibited by its covenants not to compete.
  • In Marc’s Big Boy Corp. v. Marriott Corp., Bus. Fran. Guide (CCH) 9100 (E.D. Wis. Feb. 4, 1988), successfully argued against issuance of an injunction sought by a franchisee to prevent the franchisor of the BIG BOY restaurant system from assigning the franchisor’s rights and obligations under all of the system’s franchise agreements to another franchisee.
  • Successfully represented several franchisors in systemwide litigation brought by their franchisee associations.
  • In Philadelphia Fast Foods, Inc. v. Popeyes Famous Fried Chicken, Inc., 647 F. Supp. 216 (E.D. Pa. 1986), obtained a jury verdict rejecting claims that a franchisor had conspired and attempted to monopolize the market for its brand’s product and denial of the plaintiff's motion for judgment notwithstanding the verdict.

Court Memberships

  • District of Columbia
  • Virginia
  • U.S. District Court Western District of Arkansas
  • U.S. District Court Eastern District of Arkansas
  • U.S. District Court Northern District of California
  • U.S. District Court District of Colorado
  • U.S. District Court District of Columbia
  • U.S. District Court Eastern District of Virginia
  • U.S. District Court Eastern District of Wisconsin
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth  Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals District of Columbia Circuits
  • U.S. Supreme Court

Honors

  • Litigation Counsel of America, Fellow 2015-2019
  • “Washington, D.C., Super Lawyer,” Super Lawyers, 2009–2020
  • The Best Lawyers in America©, 2006–2020
  • Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business, Franchise, 2007–2020
  • “Legal Eagle,” Franchise Times, 2004–2020
  • The International Who’s Who of Franchise Lawyers, 2003–2019
  • “Washington, D.C.’s Best Lawyers,” The Washington Post, 2010
  • Special Commendation for Outstanding Service, Office of Legal Counsel, United States Department of Justice, 1976
  • AV® Preeminent™ Peer Review Rated from Martindale-Hubbell

Events

Professional Affiliations

  • American Bar Association, Forum on Franchising; Member of Governing Committee, 2007-2010; 2008 Annual Meeting, cochair; Nominating Committee, 2012 

Press releases

Legal alerts

  • 8/11/2020
  • “When Trademark Licensing Becomes Franchising: Some Issues to Think About,” chapter co-author, Advanced Trademark Law Annual Review, Practising Law Institute
    1/1/2015
  • 10/1/2012
  • “Law on Covenants Against Competition Shifts Toward Greater Enforceability by Franchisors,” coauthor, Franchise Law Journal, Volume 31, Number 2
    10/1/2011
  • "Ethical Risks In Misleading A Mediator," The Franchise Lawyer
    8/10/2010
  • “In-Term And Post-Term Restraints In Franchising: A Comparative Analysis,” International Bar Association, International Franchising Committee Newsletter (Conference Report), Vol. 12, No. 2
    11/1/2008
  • “An Unheralded Stake Through the Heart of Siegel v. Chicken Delight and a New Climate for Franchise Tying Claims,” Franchise Law Journal, coauthor
    8/1/2008
  • "Franchisees in Federal Receivership: Strategic Considerations for Franchisors," Franchise Law Journal
    10/10/2006
  • “Princeton Review Litigation Puts Renewal Condition to the Test,” International Journal of Franchising Law, Vol. 4, Issue 2, coauthor
    5/18/2006
  • “Covenants Against Competition in Franchise Agreements,” ABA Books, editor-in-chief and co-author
    1/1/2003
  • “Domino Effect? Circuits Topple Tying-Claim Cases,” The National Law Journal
    2/16/1998
  • "Franchise Litigation Manual,” Federal Publications
    1/1/1996
  • “Covenants Against Competition in Franchise Agreements,” ABA Books, editor-in-chief and co-author
    1/1/1992
Photo of Peter J. Klarfeld
  • Washington, D.C.

    600 New Hampshire Avenue, NW
    The Watergate - Suite 700
    Washington, DC 20037
F: 202.295.2276

Assistant

Robert Kass
202.295.2214
Email

Education

University of Virginia School of Law, J.D.

  • Order of the Coif
  • Virginia Law Review, editorial board

University of Chicago, M.A.

University of Virginia, B.A.