Daniel Rustmann, Butzel Long Photo

For more than three decades, Daniel R.W. Rustmann has devoted his practice to helping clients solve complex business disputes, primarily in the automotive industry. He has successfully represented clients in numerous substantive areas, including product liability defense, Uniform Commercial Code (UCC) warranty, and product defect/recall litigation, class action litigation, and other commercial contract litigation and arbitration. He frequently serves as an arbitrator, mediator, and court-appointed special master in resolution of automotive industry and other commercial disputes and is a regular speaker and commentator on automotive industry legal issues.


Automotive supplier clients benefit from Mr. Rustmann’s deep experience obtained over the course of his career. He has represented numerous Tier 1 and Tier 2 automotive suppliers in a variety of matters, including in prosecuting and defending emergency injunction proceedings, making and responding to price increase demands, stop shipment threats, force majeure and other supply chain disruptions, dealing with distressed suppliers, supplier de-sourcing, tooling, machinery and equipment recovery and warranty disputes, and other miscellaneous breach of contract and warranty cost recovery disputes. He also represents clients in product liability litigation and in defense of consumer class action litigation.

His extensive litigation experience has equipped him well to negotiate and draft supply agreements, joint development agreements, complex equipment purchase agreements, and other commercial contracts, together with purchasing and sales terms and conditions. He also regularly advises clients on National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) compliance and represents suppliers in safety defect investigations.

Daniel Rustmann is a Shareholder in Butzel's Detroit office. He serves as a Co-Chair of the firm’s Automotive Law Practice Department and the Global Automotive Coordinating Committee. He is actively involved with MEMA, the Vehicle Suppliers Association. He is a frequent speaker on legal topics pertinent to the automotive industry. He lectures at numerous automotive industry events sponsored by MEMA and other trade associations, participates in MEMA council meetings, including Legal Issues Council, and serves as counsel to various MEMA councils on a rotating basis, including the Chief Purchasing Officers and Sales Executive Councils. Mr. Rustmann was featured on the 2022 OESA Automotive Insiders Podcast, "Sorting Out the Legalities in a Buyer-Seller Dispute" and in the 2023 Automotive Leaders Podcast, “Legal Success Strategies for your post-UAW Strike Auto Startup." He is regularly sought by a variety of radio and news syndications to comment on newsworthy occurrences pertinent to the automotive industry.

Mr. Rustmann is a graduate of Valparaiso University School of Law, J.D., with distinction, and Valparaiso University, B.A. He was clerk for the Honorable James Moody, U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana and an editor of the Valparaiso University Law Review. He also attended the Institute for Alternative Dispute Resolution at Pepperdine University School of Law. He is admitted to practice in Michigan, the U.S. District Courts for the Eastern and Western Districts of Michigan, Northern District of Indiana, Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, and United States Supreme Court. He also has been admitted in specific cases in numerous other jurisdictions across the country, including in Alabama, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Indiana, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Texas, and Wisconsin. He is a member of the Detroit Metropolitan Bar Association (DBA Foundation Fellow), Michigan Bar Association, Federal Bar Association, and American Bar Association.

Outside of practicing law, Daniel Rustmann enjoys giving his time to a variety of organizations. He is a member of the Board of Stewardship and Finance of First English Evangelical Lutheran Church. He is past president of the Detroit Lutheran Schools Association, Living Water Ministries (Lutheran outdoor youth and young adult camps and programs), and was a board member at Great Lakes Adaptive Sailing. Mr. Rustmann lives in Grosse Pointe with his wife and their golden retriever. Their son is a recent graduate of Wayne State University School of Business, and they have twin daughters who were student athletes at Michigan State University and now have careers as health care professionals.



Valparaiso University School of Law 1989, J.D.

Valparaiso University 1986, B.A.



  • Detroit Metropolitan Bar Association (Fellow)
  • Oakland County Bar Association
  • Michigan Bar Association
  • Federal Bar Association
  • American Bar Association

Awards & Recognitions

Awards & Recognitions

AV Preeminent® Peer Review Rated by LexisNexis/Martindale-Hubbell

Michigan Super Lawyers - Business Litigation, 2015-2023

DBusiness - Top Lawyers in Metro Detroit, Product Liability, 2018; Litigation-Commercial, 2021

The Best Lawyers in America® - Commercial Litigation, 2021-2024

Chambers USA - America's Leading Lawyers for Business - Commercial Litigation, 2021-2023

Lutheran Attorneys In Witness (LAW) Award, 2009


  • Counsel and train clients on best practices for purchasing and sales contracting
  • Lead counsel for Tier 1 supplier in NHTSA product defect investigation involving recalls of supplier’s components spanning several years, multiple product lines & customers; resolved with NHTSA discontinuing investigation
  • Counseled numerous Tier 1 suppliers on NHTSA reporting obligations; interfaced with NHTSA Office of Defects Investigation and OEM customers in multiple automotive safety defect and FMVSS non-compliance investigations and recall campaigns
  • Lead counsel for German Tier 1 supplier in customer cost recovery arbitration involving extensive recall campaign; helped client achieve favorable settlement at fraction of initial nearly 1 billion customer demand; customer relationship preserved
  • Counseled numerous Tier 1 and Tier 2 suppliers behind the scenes in “bet the company” customer cost recovery demands involving recall/customer service campaigns; assisted clients in resolving, with liability reduced and relationships maintained
  • Lead counsel for Japanese Tier 1 supplier in all aspects of multiple consumer class action cases filed in multiple US federal courts arising out of large recalls initiated by several different OEMs
  • Lead counsel for various Tier 1 automotive component suppliers in numerous product liability vehicle accident cases involving personal injuries and fatalities where plaintiffs sued OEM and supplier of component alleged to cause accident
  • Provide training to multiple automotive supplier client commercial teams on regulatory compliance, product liability, and warranty risk mitigation practices
  • Represent Tier 1, 2, & 3 suppliers (buyers & sellers) in dealing with distressed suppliers, supplier de-sourcing, tooling, machinery/equipment recovery, warranty disputes & miscellaneous warranty disputes
  • Represent automotive suppliers as buyers & sellers in commercial litigation and arbitration: prosecute & defend emergency injunction proceedings, price increase demands, stop shipments, force majeure and other supply chain disruptions
  • Draft purchasing and sales terms and forms, supply agreements, sales agreements, joint development agreements, non-disclosure agreements, and various other contracts for automotive suppliers and other commercial businesses

News & Events

Alerts & Publications

Jump to Page

By using this site, you agree to our updated Privacy Policy and our Terms of Use.