Overview

Butzel is the nation's premier law firm within the American automotive industry.

Dozens of our attorneys are dedicated to automotive matters on a full-time basis. Our Global Automotive Team is relied upon for virtually every type of legal service required by automotive suppliers, and their work involves important matters in North America, Europe, Latin America and Asia.

Butzel was centrally involved in establishing the American automotive industry at the beginning of the 20th Century. Today, our Global Automotive Team is shaping the manner in which the industry's disputes are resolved and transactions are accomplished. And we are profoundly involved in restructuring the industry, including its most significant acquisitions and divestitures, workouts and bankruptcies, technological developments and general commercial transactions.

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