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The 189th General Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts

Section 16: Franchise agreement; void provisions; arbitration, mediation, or alternative dispute resolution clause; voluntariness

Section 16. (a) Any provision of a franchise agreement or practice thereunder in violation of this chapter shall be against public policy and shall be void and unenforceable.

(b) A clause or provision in a franchise agreement requiring the parties to submit to arbitration, mediation or any other alternative dispute resolution mechanism before filing suit shall be enforceable only if the parties have voluntarily entered into an agreement to submit to arbitration, mediation or any other alternative dispute resolution mechanism, and the matter is conducted at a reasonable location within the commonwealth; provided, however, that the provisions of this subsection shall not prohibit the enforceability of a clause or provision in a franchise agreement which requires the parties to submit to non-binding mediation; and provided, further, that said non-binding mediation is conducted at a reasonable location within the commonwealth.