Overview

We’re the automotive supplier’s law firm.

Butzel’s clients rely on our global Automotive Industry Team for virtually every type of legal service required by automotive suppliers. We’re proud that Butzel is widely recognized across the automotive industry as the supplier’s firm and that’s because we won’t represent OEMs adverse to a supplier. What differentiates us from many of our competitors is that we’ve served a portfolio of thousands of automotive supplier clients—experience which informs our overall competitive advantage. Our attorneys are accustomed to providing no holds barred advice to suppliers. They are veterans of the industry and represent the entire supplier community—from global Tier 1 suppliers to Tier 2 and 3 suppliers locally, nationally, and worldwide.

From our headquarters in Detroit and throughout our offices across the country, our work involves important matters across the world—in North America, Europe, Latin America, and Asia. From product liability and recall and warranty matters, to supply chain management and connected cars and autonomous vehicles issues, our specialized group of attorneys serve clients in myriad legal scenarios inherent to automotive suppliers. We’re proud to be one of the first firms in the US to form a Connected and Autonomous Mobility Team. And when it comes to managing risk for our clients in automotive safety, compliance, product liability, and recall and warranty matters, our attorneys comprise one of the most sophisticated and experienced teams in the nation. We understand the challenges presented in managing critical supply chain relationships and accordingly, we stay ahead of ever-changing industry standards that affect the day-to-day business of our clients. Our lawyers study the rapid changes and developments in the automotive industry every day so that they can provide advice and guidance based on up-to-the-minute industry data.

We take great pride in our prominent and a long history in the automotive sector. Historically, we were centrally involved in establishing the American automotive industry at its advent in the early part of the 20th century. The Automotive Industry Team remains a leading force, shaping how the industry's disputes are resolved and transactions are accomplished. From our origins in the mid-1800s representing entities in the Great Lakes and international shipping trades, we’ve evolved to partnering with today’s manufacturing innovators. We continue to be profoundly involved in restructuring the automotive industry, including its most significant acquisitions and divestitures, workouts and bankruptcies, technological developments, and general commercial transactions.

Today, Butzel is honored to be recognized among the nation's premier law firms within the American automotive industry. Our firm and our attorneys have been acknowledged year-after-year by a variety of top legal industry publications, regionally and nationally, in numerous practice areas that encompass our global Automotive practice.

Dozens of the firm’s attorneys are exclusively dedicated to providing consultation and representation in automotive matters. The Automotive Industry Team is comprised of seasoned veterans, each recognized as a front-running expert in their field. Our attorneys study, analyze, and frequently write about and speak on the automotive sector. Consequently, their viewpoints are regularly sought by the national and international media that cover the automotive industry.

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Experience

  • Welfare Plans (drafting plan documents and answering legal/compliance issues)
  • Amended and restated 14 defined benefit pension plans of major tier one automotive supplier and filed them with the IRS.
  • Engaged by a leading insurance company to analyze the direct and indirect impact of the bankruptcies of GM, Chrysler and major Tier 1 and Tier 2 auto suppliers on its insured bond portfolio
  • Engaged by a Major Tier 1 Plan Administrator to oversee the implementation of Delphi corporation's confirmed chapter 11 plan.
  • Trademark/patent litigation of an automotive service company
  • Obtained dismissal by summary disposition and summary judgment of asbestos claims
  • Trade secret misappropriation action
  • National and Regional counsel for leading tire manufacturers in tread separation and other catastrophic personal injury cases.
  • Automotive Company Litigation
  • Obtained a $7.25 million settlement for German automotive corporation in connection with acquisition of a piston manufacturing company
  • Represented an automotive supplier against a casting supplier which filed for Chapter 11 relief in a motion to reject the supply contracts with our client and several other key customers
  • National counsel for the defense of ABS and Rollover Protection System cases for several leading suppliers.
  • Representation of major Tier One automotive suppliers in arbitration and litigation of eight figure warranty and recall disputes with automotive OEMs.
  • RFP Preparation
  • Lead supplier counsel on several bet the farm OEM/Tier I warranty and recall disputes with demands ranging from $25 to $125 million.
  • Represented an automotive fasteners company in a disposition merger
  • Lead counsel in negotiating and developing extended OEM warranties and back-up insurance policies
  • Represented corporations and executives under federal investigation
  • Design and Engineering Company Litigation
  • Represented filtration management company in trade secrets lawsuit.
  • Represented battery supplier seeking to recover research and development costs
  • Trademark Prosecution: Prosecuted trademark applications for a major automotive company
  • Represented auto supplier in securities fraud investigation in New York and California.
  • Successfully defended manufacturing company in two different lawsuits filed by another automotive company
  • Successful representation of automotive suppliers in numerous breach of contract disputes
  • Employee Benefits in Acquisitions
  • Lead counsel for global polymers manufacturer in multiple acquisition and disposition transactions, including complex, multi-continent acquisitions, numerous acquisitions of U.S. based distributors and disposition of operations in Canada and the U.S.
  • Regional counsel for tire manufacturer
  • Representation of Mexican Purchaser of Delphi's automotive exhaust business
  • Represented a Mexican corporation in the purchase of the exhaust system business from a major Tier 1 auto supplier in a Section 363 bankruptcy sale; facilities located throughout the world
  • Asserted claims on behalf of over 50 suppliers against large automotive debtor
  • Secured a judgment, automotive client
  • Created loan/financing structure for capital acquisition and industrial expansion for Canadian and U.S. structure and operations
  • Served as court-appointed Commercial & Litigation Counsel for major automotive supplier
  • Automotive supplier dispute
  • Sales commission case; obtain summary judgment for employer
  • Defended EEOC charges across the country for one of the world's largest business outsourcing companies.
  • Obtained summary judgment in favor of automotive supplier, dismissing lower tier supplier’s breach of contract claims
  • Prepared Investment Policy Statement for 401(k) plan for tier one automotive supplier
  • Defended Tier 1 automotive supplier in patent litigation involving universal garage door opener technology
  • Negotiated investment manager contracts for pension plan assets
  • Defended corporation in employment whistleblower action
  • False marking/advertising action
  • Defended injection molding equipment manufacturer in trademark infringement litigation
  • Represented German auto manufacturer in the U.S. Court of International Trade.
  • Patent infringement action
  • Defended web-based retailer in a trademark infringement action brought by a major OEM over domain name
  • Defended automotive supplier against patent infringement
  • Obtained summary judgment on behalf of seller in claims arising out of acquisition of Tier II automotive supplier
  • Defended manufacturer in trade dress and patent infringement lawsuit
  • Patent Prosecution: Drafted, filed and prosecuted patent applications for a major automotive supplier
  • Lead counsel in negotiating and developing extended OEM warranties and back-up insurance policies
  • Negotiated a settlement agreement for a major auto supplier with an OEM resulting in $40,000,000 in payments to the supplier, deal also included commitment by OEM to provide significant additional future business to supplier
  • Represented a Tier 1 supplier in over 115 supplier disputes involving financially troubled supplier
  • Defended semiconductor manufacturer in trademark infringement action. Summary judgment affirmed on appeal.
  • Represented a financially troubled supplier in negotiating a multi-party accommodation agreement, access and security agreement, together with extensions of each agreement
  • Patent Prosecution: Drafted, prepared, filed and prosecuted numerous patent applications for major automotive suppliers
  • Lead supplier counsel on several bet-the-farm OEM/Tier 1 warranty and recall disputes with demands ranging from $25 to $125 million
  • Tire Company Litigation
  • Received numerous dismissals of EEOC or state agency charges on behalf of a major automotive supplier
  • Obtained a summary disposition for a tire failure case
  • Obtained TRO and preliminary injunctions for Tier 1 automotive suppliers in commercial disputes.
  • Represented a major bank on its behalf and as servicing agent to 5 other banks in a Chapter 11 case
  • Obtained a declination of prosecution for an accounting officer of an international automotive supplier after investigation by the DOJ and the SEC
  • Trademark and Patent Filings
  • Represented national tire manufacturing company in product liability litigation in several states
  • Counsel to the OESA Chief Purchasing Officers' Council.
  • Successfully obtained temporary restraining orders and preliminary injunctions for Tier 1 and Tier 2 supplier to avoid supply disruptions
  • Counseled and advised numerous Tier 1 and Tier 2 suppliers
  • Plan Amendments and IRS Approvals for Tier 1 Automotive Supplier
  • Negotiation of complex Settlement Agreement with an OEM of claims arising under long-term Supply Agreement
  • Engaged by agent for lending syndicate which extended more than $50 million in pre-bankruptcy loans to Tier 2 auto supplier
  • Represented individuals and companies subject to SEC subpoenas and investigations
  • Represented party in their claim of fraudulent misrepresentation against seller of business
  • Served as National Coordinating Counsel for a major product liability case; included submissions to Congressional Committees and NHTSA foreign governments
  • Negotiation of a Complex Supply Agreement for major Tier I Automotive Supplier with an OEM; included subsidies and exit provisions
  • Lead counsel on hundreds of supply chain disputes between OEMs and Tiered Suppliers.
  • Handled all legal planning and compliance work to spin-off $60 million portion of 401(k) plan to separate 401(k) plan
  • Licensing/Transactions: Drafted license/transaction agreements for a major automotive supplier
  • Served as court-appointed Commercial & Litigation Counsel for a major auto supplier; acted as lead attorney in over 115 matters involving financially troubled suppliers against our client
  • Successfully represented a national joint venture training center operating a program assisting UAW members to obtain personal computers. We won a verdict of no cause in our client's favor in jury trial.
  • Representation of major Tier One automotive suppliers in litigation of price disputes involving potential manufacturing plant shut downs.
  • Represented trademark owner (automotive supplier) in domain name dispute; client gained possession of infringing domain name
  • Defended automotive manufacturer in trademark litigation
  • Advise Tier I suppliers on FMVSS and NHTSA regulations and rule making process.
  • Engaged by the agent for a lending syndicate which extended more than $50 million in pre-bankruptcy loans to a Tier 2 auto supplier
  • Interference proceeding against automotive supplier
  • Lead counsel for major auto supplier in numerous M&A transactions, both those based solely in the US and those with US and foreign components
  • Successfully concluded an internal investigation for automotive manufacturer
  • Defended party in contract dispute
  • Representation of major Tier 1 automotive chassis component suppliers in defense of product liability litigation on regional and national basis
  • Complex, multi-continent acquisitions of companies for an international polymers manufacturer
  • Defended fiberglass manufacturer in patent/trade secret infringement action
  • Principal author, in partnership with OESA, of OESA N.A. OEM Production P.O. Terms and Conditions Comparative Analysis, since the publication’s inception
  • Represented automotive inspection company in copyright lawsuit related to car inspection software
  • Representation of multiple major Tier 1 and Tier 2 automotive suppliers in litigation of price disputes involving potential emergency manufacturing plant shut downs
  • Counsel to the OESA Chief Executive Officers' Council; Member of OESA Legal Counsel
  • Negotiated settlement for a Tier 1 supplier with OEM resulting in sizeable financial payment to supplier and long-term future business commitment
  • Represented Product liability litigation
  • Represented foreign-based automotive supplier in case pricing, warranty, and contract termination issues
  • Represented a major automotive supplier in a suit against a Texas aftermarket parts company for patent infringement
  • Represented an automotive parts supplier in a contentious termination of the supply relationship with the supplier based on an accommodation agreement and access and security agreement
  • Represented automotive supplier in patent infringement/antitrust case
  • Successfully defended automotive supplier in patent infringement action; validated 2 patents on summary judgment and another after trial.
  • Negotiation of Complex Supply Agreements for major Tier 1 automotive suppliers with OEMs
  • Represented a Tier 1 supplier in over 100 supplier disputes arising from OEM program cancellation
  • Counseling US and foreign based automotive suppliers regarding NHTSA compliance and recalls.
  • Represented automotive supplier plaintiff in action for multiple breaches of contract in the U.S. District Court, E.D. Mich.
  • Negotiations of series of sales representative agreements with multi-national entities
  • Successful representation of automotive supply client against claims arising out of nickel price surcharges
  • Represented a die casting and machining supplier filing for complex Chapter 11 relief
  • Represented global polymers manufacturer in acquisition of assets of Hydro Components Research and Development Corporation.
  • Represented automotive supplier in patent infringement case
  • Represented the American subsidiary of China's third largest privately held company in an automotive supplier breach of contract dispute
  • Overturned adverse decision by Board of Patent appeals and interferences in Federal Court; sustained on appeal
  • Prevailed at trial in a multi-million dollar patent case for an automotive manufacturing client, invalidating the last of three patents that had been asserted against client.
  • Patent infringement action
  • Jury trial verdict in a negligence case
  • Represented a major manufacturer in a 363 sale of substantially all of the operating assets of an automotive parts supplier and debtor in possession of Chapter 11 proceedings
  • Represented a private equity investor in the lengthy and complicated effort to purchase all of Ford Motor Company's glass manufacturing operations in North America
  • Counsel to numerous clients during the bankruptcy proceedings of Chrysler and General Motors
  • Robotics Company Litigation
  • Commercial counsel for automotive companies
  • Trade secret lawsuits
  • Drafted Terms and Conditions for numerous leading Tier 1 and other automotive suppliers
  • Engaged by a Major Tier 1 Plan Administrator to oversee the implementation of Delphi Corporation's confirmed chapter 11 plan
  • Lead counsel for all commercial matters of international automotive OEM
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