(Please note: the names and locations of all parties have been changed to protect the confidentiality of this wrongful death case and its proceedings.)
D. Universal Exercised Complete or Substantial Control Over its Franchises
Universal first started franchising its stores in 1972 to further merchandise its products and increase profits. Universal wanted its franchises to operate along the same lines as Universal’s stores and Universal made sure that its customers cannot tell the difference between whether a particular Universal store was company- or franchisee-owned. Indeed, if a Universal franchisee went out of business, Universal then operated the store as a company-owned store. Universal placed certain mechanisms in its subleases, franchise agreements and Management Manual ( Universal Manual ) to ensure that its franchises operated and appeared the same as Universal-owned stores. Also, Universal employees regularly inspected and advised the franchises to ensure profitability and compliance with Universal’s standards.
3. Universal’s Management Manual
Universal required its franchisees to operate according to the Universal Manual. The Universal Manual outlined good business practices for the franchisee to follow to ensure profitability. Indeed, if a franchisee willfully or negligently deviated from the high quality service and maintenance standards set forth in the Universal Manual, Universal could terminate the franchise agreement. The Universal Manual required the franchisee to:
1. Follow Image Standards that included the maintenance and cleanliness of the facility;
2. Hire the most qualified and competent employees;
3. Train its employees on a daily on-going basis with, among other things, Universal’s complete range of training materials ;
4. Purchase necessary training aids and to make training time available to employees ;
(The discovery issues presented in this personal injury case are common to most civil cases.)
5. Provide necessary training for automotive technicians, including brake work, to comply with the Universal Service Sales Policy, including enrollment in Universal training schools;
6. Follow Housekeeping & Merchandising Standards such as removing excessive dirt and dust from windows and doors and that the service department receive daily attention ;
7. Obtain Universal’s approval before any local advertisements are distributed to the public; and
8. Follow Operating Standards, including the submission of daily sales reports and other written instructions to Universal. (See Part 6 of 14.)
For more information you are welcome to contact Sacramento personal injury lawyer, Moseley Collins.