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Automotive

With deep roots in the heart of the U.S. automotive industry, Warner provides proactive, timely and cutting-edge advice to suppliers throughout Detroit, North America and around the globe. Our attorneys are recognized leaders in every area of law that impacts the global automotive and mobility market. We understand the complex relationships between parts suppliers and vehicle manufacturers, and we stay on top of the laws, regulations and critical issues that are transforming this industry. From essential contract support and intellectual property protection to preemptive counsel on distressed suppliers, warranty and recall, litigation matters and corporate transactions, Warner’s multidisciplinary full service team anticipates and quickly responds to the challenges our clients face. Our extensive industry insight and deep supply chain experience, infused with the ability to quickly solve problems will keep your organization ahead of the curve.

“Supplier First and Supplier Only” for Automotive Supply Chain Matters

If your current law firm is representing large OEMs, there might be business conflicts of interest related to your specific needs, strategies and operations. As a policy matter, we were the first firm in Michigan to take the position that we would not represent original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) on supply chain disputes. Instead, we have long been focusing only on the interests of our automotive supply clients. We are deeply embedded in the industry, including with the Original Equipment Suppliers Association (OESA) where we have served for more than a decade as antitrust counsel; as founders and leaders of MICHauto; as members of the Women’s Automotive Alliance; and as leaders for the Automotive Hall of Fame.

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International Automotive Supply

Warner’s automotive attorneys have been keeping international auto suppliers ahead of the curve for decades.

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Located in the heart of the North American automotive industry, Warner represents more than 200 domestic and international auto suppliers who do business in the U.S. We’re unique among automotive attorneys because we represent only auto suppliers – not manufacturers. As such, we have extensive cross-border and international experience with automotive supply issues. We know contract law, terms and conditions and the complex nature of the relationships between auto suppliers and manufacturers.

Several of our clients operate in both inside and outside of the U.S. Here are some examples of our experience with them:

  • Lead outside counsel for the North American subsidiary of a German auto parts manufacturer in $250 million dispute with OEM and other matters
  • Principal outside counsel for an automotive piston manufacturer and supplier to North America, South America, Europe and Asia on matters related to contracts, litigation and general business
  • Legal counsel to the Original Equipment Suppliers Association
  • Lead litigation counsel for a national automotive finance company; responsible for all commercial litigation in the eastern U.S.
  • Counsel to U.S.-based global powertrain manufacturer in general corporate matters and in acquiring, developing, leasing and selling real estate

And because we’re a large corporate firm, our experience is vast and varied. Here are some examples that may appeal to auto parts suppliers with international business interests:

  • Economic Development: We’ve drafted brownfield legislation and secured economic incentives for clients.
  • Environmental: We’ve drafted solid waste management legislation and clean-up laws and have represented Fortune 100 clients with CERCLA and RCRA sites.
  • Immigration: We were special immigration counsel in the sale of a U.S. company and when another company outsourced functions to Asia.
  • Litigation: We’ve successfully represented suppliers and manufacturers in myriad disputes and have been recognized by Chambers USA as a top litigation firm.
  • Labor and Employment: We’ve advised Fortune 100 companies on the design and administration of benefit plans.

To learn more about how Warner can help keep you ahead of the curve, please contact us or visit the main automotive web page.

MICHauto

Warner is a founding sponsor of MICHauto, Michigan’s Automotive Accelerator. This organization is the first nonprofit membership group dedicated to promoting and supporting Michigan’s global leadership in the automotive industry.

Tom Manganello, chair of the Warner automotive industry group, has been very active in the formation of MICHauto. Warner has long served clients in the automotive industry and we are very pleased to be a major sponsor of this important organization.

For more information, visit the MiAuto-2C-72 MEMBER_small website.

Strengths Snapshot

• All types and aspects of supplier contracts
• Supply chain disputes, including litigation and other dispute resolution methods
• Intellectual property (from crafting a thoughtful procurement strategy and drafting patent applications for you on the front end or negotiating licenses and terms and conditions that protect your technologies later on)
• Distressed supplier issues (bankruptcy, insolvency and restructuring)
• U.S. and international mergers, acquisitions and divestitures (including due diligence)
• Cybersecurity and privacy
• Autonomous vehicles – automated and connected mobility
• Environmental issues / Warner has the only air quality expert in the state, and attorneys experienced in groundwater and PFOA/PFAS issues as well
• Immigration / Many of our clients are not based in the U.S., or have parent companies based outside of the U.S.
• Economic incentives (not only within Michigan, but across the country)
• Warranties, recalls and cost recovery
• Product liability
• Labor and union issues, plus HR and employment
• Closely held businesses
• International expansion
• Wind down and liquidation
• Construction, real estate and equipment asset purchase
• Tax
• Environmental
• Cybersecurity and privacy

Area of Focus

Our automotive attorneys offer a full range of legal services in areas such as:

Bankruptcy and Creditors’ Rights

  • Representing secured creditors, debtors and creditors committees in bankruptcy cases and workout transactions
  • Structuring business transactions designed to anticipate bankruptcy problems

Related Attorneys: Robert H. Skilton III

Commercial Litigation

  • Supply chain terms and conditions negotiations, dispute resolution and litigation
  • Standard terms of purchase and sale
  • Dealer and distributor agreements
  • Sales representative agreements
  • Requirements and exclusive dealing contracts
  • Tooling contracts, recovery and lien disputes
  • Consignments
  • Review and negotiation of loan documents
  • Buyer financing of custom production lines and equipment
  • Seller financing arrangements, such as purchase money security interests and letters of credit
  • Supplier litigation including breach of contract, supplier resourcing, purchase order conflicts, raw materials surcharge recovery and general commercial litigation

Related Attorneys: Douglas A. DozemanThomas J. ManganelloMichael G. Brady, Douglas E. Wagner

Construction and Real Estate

  • Real estate acquisition, financing, development, leasing and disposition
  • Zoning
  • Condemnation
  • Tax abatement and property tax appeals
  • Litigation
  • Contract drafting and preparation
  • Construction liens, filing and enforcement
  • Dispute resolution including mediation, arbitration and litigation

Related Attorney: Christian E. Meyer

Contract Drafting, Review and Negotiation Advice

  • Represent suppliers in drafting, reviewing, interpreting and negotiating automotive supply and commercial contracts
  • Assist both large publicly traded companies and small privately owned companies with lease, purchase, sale and distribution of goods and services
  • Negotiate and document development, supply and manufacturing agreements, software licensing agreements, equipment purchase and/or leasing agreements, nondisclosure agreements and terms and conditions of sale and purchase

Related Attorney: William R. Jansen

Employment Litigation

  • Wrongful discharge litigation
  • Discrimination litigation
  • Harassment litigation
  • Covenants not to compete
  • Public accommodation litigation

Related Attorney: Andrea J. Bernard

Environmental

  • Acquisitions, divestitures and development
  • Air quality issues, including NSR, PSD, NSPS, NESHAPs
  • Brownfield redevelopment
  • Enforcement proceedings and litigation
  • Environmental audits
  • Solid and hazardous waste management
  • Superfund negotiation and litigation
  • Water quality issues

Related Attorneys: John V. BylSteven C. Kohl, Scott D. Hubbard, Daniel K. DeWitt

Human Resources

  • Union election campaigns and collective bargaining
  • Grievance and arbitration procedures
  • De-certifications
  • Strikes and picket line activity
  • Wage and hour issues
  • Employee benefits
  • Contract drafting and preparation
  • Workplace violence and harassment
  • Discrimination
  • Workers’ compensation

Related Attorneys: Anthony J. Kolenic, Jr.Louis C. Rabaut

Immigration

  • Critical immigration issues in mergers and acquisitions
  • Visas for executives and managers of multinational companies
  • Visas for high-tech workers
  • Special issues relating to Canadian workers under NAFTA

Intellectual Property

  • Patents
  • Trademarks
  • Copyrights
  • Litigation of infringement actions, licensing agreements, and unfair competition and antitrust issues

Related Attorneys: Charles E. BurpeeWilliam P. DaniDouglas A. Dozeman

International Business Transactions

  • Foreign acquisitions
  • Export and import sales
  • Doing business in China
  • Licensing and distributor agreements
  • International tax
  • Legal issues of foreign subsidiaries of domestic corporations

Related Attorney: Jeffrey A. Ott

IT Procurement

  • Quality procurement processes
  • Software audits, including an inventory of all IT contracts
  • Form software contracts
  • Contract processes, including serving as part of the negotiating team

Related Attorney: Janet P. Knaus

Mergers and Acquisitions

  • Mergers and acquisitions
  • Divestitures
  • Reorganizations
  • Joint ventures

Related Attorneys: Jeffrey S. BattershallJames E. RomzekGregory E. SchmidtStephen C. Waterbury

Motor Vehicle Safety Regulations

  • TREAD Act
  • Vehicle Safety Act
  • NHTSA reporting requirements
  • Defect and noncompliance investigations
  • Recall requirements
  • Rulemaking Activities

Related Attorney: Christopher J. Predko

Nonroutine Securities Matters

  • Domestic and foreign securities offerings, public and private, including equity and debt
  • Financing and development of financial products
  • No action letters and interpretive advice
  • Proxy contests and solicitations
  • Compliance and regulatory issues involving Sarbanes-Oxley Act
  • Securities litigation including class-action defense

Related Attorney: Jeffrey A. Ott

Product Liability Litigation

  • Automotive product liability
  • Class-action defense
  • Breach of warranty and lemon law
  • Automotive supplier issues, including breach of contract, supplier resourcing, purchase order conflicts and bankruptcy
  • Risk management

Related Attorneys: Douglas A. Dozeman, Thomas J. Manganello, Edward J. Bardelli, Douglas E. Wagner

Real Estate Tax Appeals

  • Appeals concerning assessed value, taxable value and tax exemptions

Related Attorney: Christian E. Meyer