C. PATTESON “PAT” CARDWELL, IV, leads the firm’s franchise practice. Pat is the former general counsel of Realogy Corporation, the franchisor of six of the most recognized brands in the real estate industry: Coldwell Banker, Century 21, ERA, Sotheby’s International Realty, Better Homes and Gardens Realty and Coldwell Banker Commercial. Combined, these real estate companies have approximately 15,000 company owned and franchised offices in the US and other countries and territories around the world.
Following his ten years representing Realogy, Pat represented franchisors and franchisees in various industries. On the franchisor and master franchisor side, Pat assists companies in preparing Franchise Disclosure Documents and other regulatory filings, and represents them in domestic and international franchise negotiations, renewals, assignments and disputes. On the Franchisee side, Pat assists franchisees of all sizes to review Franchise Disclosure Documents, and in negotiations of new franchise agreements, franchise renewals, compliance, assignment of franchise agreements and approval of new franchisees. Pat believes that franchisors and franchisees should be guided by the principal of growing their respective businesses together, and works towards reasonable legal solutions designed to obtain the best business plan for the franchisor and the franchisee.
Pat applies this vast array of “franchise knowledge and business practice” to assist franchisors and franchisees in negotiating their new agreements and renewals and any other issues that may arise during the franchise relationship. Should dispute resolution, arbitration or litigation become necessary, Cohen Mohr brings sufficient franchise and commercial considerable litigation experience to bear on behalf of franchisors and franchisees.
In his capacity as general counsel of Realogy and lead counsel for the real estate division of its predecessor companies, Mr. Cardwell was responsible for the management of thousands of cases worldwide. He knows the arguments available to franchisees to defend litigation from their franchisor, including:
• Improper disclosure
• Fraud and misrepresentation during the sale of the franchise
• Improper or inappropriate changes to the franchise policy that have a material adverse effect on the franchisees
• Permitting the opening of franchise or company owned offices that are too close to existing franchisees and impact their ability to do business
• Breach of the franchise agreement or implied duty of good faith and fair dealing
• Improper termination of a franchisee
• Improper refusal to renew a franchisee
Mr. Cardwell also represents clients in commercial and contracts litigation in Virginia and the District of Columbia. Such cases include breach of contract and related matters. Mr. Cardwell also represents clients in tort related matters, including but not limited to:
• Product Disparagement
• Claims involving unlawful competition, like tortious interference with a contract or business opportunity
• Cases involving Actual and Negligent Misrepresentations
• Disputes among business owners over the control and management of the enterprise