Automotive

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From Detroit, the center of the global automotive industry, Miller Canfield’s global automotive team represents OEMs and next generation vehicle manufacturers, suppliers and innovators worldwide. Automotive is our largest industry sector.

Our dominant legal expertise gives clients an advantage in navigating the protocols, language and issues unique to the industry, such as supply contracts and purchasing; parts testing and certification; tooling use and ownership; software licensing; environmental; safety regulations and employment. Miller Canfield represents hundreds of automotive companies all over the world in matters including:

  • Commercial transactions and contracts
  • Supply and licensing agreements
  • Greenfield investment
  • Intellectual property, including litigation
  • Mergers and acquisitions
  • Joint ventures
  • Foreign direct investment
  • Economic incentives
  • Tax
  • International trade issues, including customs and export controls
  • Product recalls
  • Warranties
  • Multi-state and country regulations
  • Real estate
  • Bankruptcy, insolvency and restructuring

Product Safety, Recalls and Warranties

Miller Canfield’s Product Safety team specializes in representing automotive manufacturers and suppliers, both North American and foreign, in matters related to warranty and recall regulations. We advise clients on:

  • Litigation support, including electronic discovery and records management, and national discovery coordination for complex, multijurisdictional litigation.
  • Compliance with state, federal  and international laws, including the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) and the E.U.’s Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemical Substances (REACh) regulations
  • Implementation of contractual supply chain protections
  • Design of product literature and warnings
  • Investigation of product defect issues

Litigation/International Dispute Resolution Section

Miller Canfield litigators are ranked among the best in the country at resolving disputes for our clients in the automotive industry. Our deep roster has the talent and experience to lead or support the most complex litigation, including our nationally respected International Dispute Resolution Section. We’ve represented auto companies in disputes worth up to several hundred million U.S. dollars in multiple international arbitration centers, from Europe to Asia to North America.

Next Generation Vehicles and Start-up Technologies

Alternative fuels, environmental mandates and complex multi-government regulations have opened new doors and opportunities for both established and start-up companies. Governments and venture capital firms around the world are investing billions in R&D to develop more fuel-efficient, autonomous and automated automobiles. We assist manufacturers, suppliers, inventors, financial institutions and other investors, and governments in their Next Generation Vehicle efforts.

Regulation and Compliance

Miller Canfield has decades of collective experience counseling automotive companies on compliance with the various regulatory agencies that police the industry, including defending companies before in hearings. Among these agencies are:

  • National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)
  • Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and its state equivalents
  • Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and its state equivalents
  • National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) and its state equivalents

Labor, Unions and Employment

Given our Detroit roots, we have significant experience in the automotive and manufacturing industry on many of the toughest and sophisticated legal labor and employment issues facing this sector. Our experience includes:

  • Handling dozens of unfair labor practice claims in the context of a single-union organizing campaign
  • Providing advice and counsel on how to best implement a nationwide two-week furlough during economic crises
  • Defending wage and hour claims under the FLSA