15 U.S. Code § 2805 - Enforcement provisions
(a) Maintenance of civil action by franchisee against franchisor; jurisdiction and venue; time for commencement of action
If a franchisor fails to comply with the requirements of section 2802, 2803, or 2807 of this title, the franchisee may maintain a civil action against such franchisor. Such action may be brought, without regard to the amount in controversy, in the district court of the United States in any judicial district in which the principal place of business of such franchisor is located or in which such franchisee is doing business, except that no such action may be maintained unless commenced within 1 year after the later of—
(b) Equitable relief by court; bond requirements; grounds for nonexercise of court’s equitable powers
(1) In any action under subsection (a) of this section, the court shall grant such equitable relief as the court determines is necessary to remedy the effects of any failure to comply with the requirements of section 2802, 2803, or 2807 of this title, including declaratory judgment, mandatory or prohibitive injunctive relief, and interim equitable relief.
(2) Except as provided in paragraph (3), in any action under subsection (a) of this section, the court shall grant a preliminary injunction if—
(A) the franchisee shows—
(i) the franchise of which he is a party has been terminated or the franchise relationship of which he is a party has not been renewed, and
(3) Nothing in this subsection prevents any court from requiring the franchisee in any action under subsection (a) of this section to post a bond, in an amount established by the court, prior to the issuance or continuation of any equitable relief.
(4) In any action under subsection (a) of this section, the court need not exercise its equity powers to compel continuation or renewal of the franchise relationship if such action was commenced—
(A) more than 90 days after the date on which notification pursuant to section 2804 (a) of this title was posted or personally delivered to the franchisee;
(B) more than 180 days after the date on which notification pursuant to section 2804 (b)(2) of this title was posted or personally delivered to the franchisee; or
(c) Burden of proof; burden of going forward with evidence
In any action under subsection (a) of this section, the franchisee shall have the burden of proving the termination of the franchise or the nonrenewal of the franchise relationship. The franchisor shall bear the burden of going forward with evidence to establish as an affirmative defense that such termination or nonrenewal was permitted under section 2802 (b) or 2803 of this title, and, if applicable, that such franchisor complied with the requirements of section 2802 (d) of this title.
(d) Actual and exemplary damages and attorney and expert witness fees to franchisee; determination by court of right to exemplary damages and amount; attorney and expert witness fees to franchisor for frivolous actions
(1) If the franchisee prevails in any action under subsection (a) of this section, such franchisee shall be entitled—
(B) in the case of any such action which is based upon conduct of the franchisor which was in willful disregard of the requirements of section 2802, 2803, or 2807 of this title, or the rights of the franchisee thereunder, to exemplary damages, where appropriate; and
(2) The question of whether to award exemplary damages and the amount of any such award shall be determined by the court and not by a jury.
(e) Discretionary power of court to compel continuation or renewal of franchise relationship; grounds for noncompulsion; right of franchisee to actual damages and attorney and expert witness fees unaffected
(1) In any action under subsection (a) of this section with respect to a failure of a franchisor to renew a franchise relationship in compliance with the requirements of section 2802 of this title, the court may not compel a continuation or renewal of the franchise relationship if the franchisor demonstrates to the satisfaction of the court that—
(A) the basis for such nonrenewal is a determination made by the franchisor in good faith and in the normal course of business—
(i) to convert the leased marketing premises to a use other than the sale or distribution of motor fuel,
(iv) to withdraw from the marketing of motor fuel through retail outlets in the relevant geographic market area in which the marketing premises are located, or
(B) the requirements of section 2804 of this title have been complied with.
(2) The provisions of paragraph (1) shall not affect any right of any franchisee to recover actual damages and reasonable attorney and expert witness fees under subsection (d) of this section if such nonrenewal is prohibited by section 2802 of this title.
(f) Release or waiver of rights
(1) No franchisor shall require, as a condition of entering into or renewing the franchise relationship, a franchisee to release or waive—
Source(Pub. L. 95–297, title I, § 105,June 19, 1978, 92 Stat. 331; Pub. L. 103–371, § 4,Oct. 19, 1994, 108 Stat. 3485; Pub. L. 110–140, title II, § 241(b),Dec. 19, 2007, 121 Stat. 1540.)
References in Text
The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, referred to in subsec. (d)(1), are set out in the Appendix to Title 28, Judiciary and Judicial Procedure.
2007—Subsecs. (a), (b)(1), (d)(1)(B). Pub. L. 110–140substituted “2802, 2803, or 2807” for “2802 or 2803” wherever appearing.
1994—Subsec. (f). Pub. L. 103–371added subsec. (f).
Effective Date of 2007 Amendment