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Amy M. Johnston

Managing Director
Litigation and Dispute
Resolution Group Co-Leader




University of Detroit Mercy School of Law, J.D.

University of Michigan, B.G.S.

Bar Admissions

Court Admissions

U.S. Supreme Court

U.S. Court of Appeals

  • Sixth Circuit
  • Seventh Circuit

U.S. District Courts

  • Eastern District of Michigan
  • Western District of Michigan
  • Northern District of Ohio
  • Southern District of Ohio
  • Central District of Illinois
  • Northern District of Indiana
  • Eastern District of Wisconsin

United States Court of International Trade

Amy M. Johnston is a seasoned litigator who specializes in complex commercial disputes and class actions with an emphasis on banking, energy, manufacturing and real estate industries.

With more than 25 years of courtroom and commercial arbitration experience, Amy has represented large and small companies in business, trade secret, anti-trust, PMPA, environmental, oil and gas royalties, electric energy, utility accounting, avoided costs, FERC, PURPA, class actions, construction, real estate, UCC, petroleum marketing and branding, mass tort, contract and product liability matters. She has also represented lender clients in defensive litigation as well as real estate workouts and foreclosures in Michigan and Ohio.

Clients routinely look to Amy as trusted counsel. She excels at client service and is well-known for her skills, depth, breath and high reputation in the legal community. Her experience in representing companies from pre-litigation through trial enables her to provide insight into litigation avoidance as well as trial strategies for successful outcomes. Amy's practice is nationwide, having represented clients in state and federal courts and arbitration hearings throughout the United States.

Throughout the years, Amy has established solid relationships with clients and developed a deep knowledge and understanding of clients' business objectives. Amy regularly serves as general business counsel to a wide range of companies, from Fortune 500 to start-up. Amy is highly regarded for providing advice on a broad range of business and legal matters with an eye toward consistency in process and long-term business solutions.

Amy is publicly recognized as a leading lawyer. In 2020, she was named as one of the Best Women Lawyers in America by Best Lawyers®, as well as recognized in the top 5 Women Lawyers and top 10 Women Business Lawyers by Leading Lawyers. Amy was also honored for her leadership in Michigan Lawyers Weekly's 2014 Women in the Law. In addition, she has been recognized on U.S. News & World Report's "Top 25 Women Lawyers in Michigan" list since 2016, "Top 50 Women Lawyers in Michigan" since 2011 and "Best Lawyers in America" since 2008. She has been a Fellow of the Litigation Counsel of America, the trial lawyer honorary society, since 2007.

Representative Matters

Amy has extensive experience in a variety of accounting, commercial, energy, environmental, product liability, and utility disputes, including class action litigation as noted below


Successfully defended lenders against allegations of fraud, UCC violations, breach of contract and conspiracy theories.

Successfully defended Special Servicer in Certificateholders' action alleging breaches of Master Pooling and Servicing Agreement.

Represented lenders in commercial foreclosure actions in Michigan and Ohio.

Managed portfolio of foreclosure actions in Illinois.

Business Disputes

Automobile Manufacturer Supplier Litigation

Secured multiple preliminary injunctions and/or favorable settlements for large automotive manufacturer against suppliers arising out of disputes on pricing, purchase order terms and conditions, disruption costs and sub-supplier delays. 

Biotechnology Drug Company Commercial Litigation

Obtained summary judgment for biotechnology drug company in defense to breach of contract and breach of shareholder agreements.

Biotechnology Company Shareholder Litigation

Successfully defended biotechnology company in shareholder derivative action, involving allegations of Securities Act violations, breaches of fiduciary duty and loyalty, and unjust enrichment.

Commercial and Noncompete Litigation

Represented multiple closely held corporations in unfair trade practices, pricing and covenants not to compete disputes in courts in New York and Michigan.

Franchisor Commercial Litigation

Successfully secured dismissal of challenges to revised terms in franchisor's renewal agreements brought by franchisees in federal court.

General Shareholder Litigation

Represented many small and mid-sized corporations in minority shareholder oppression, share dilution and derivative actions.

Manufacturer Commercial Litigation

Defended local manufacturing company and obtained summary judgment in case concerning corporate dissolution and allegations of breaches of various contracts and shareholder agreements, fiduciary duties and bad faith.

Private Corporation Shareholder Litigation

Successfully defended closely held corporation in minority shareholder oppression, breach of fiduciary duty and breach of contract case, resulting in an ability to commence a counter-suit and obtain a large monetary award for the client.

Trademark Disputes/Anti-Counterfeiting

In separately litigated matters, Amy has secured preliminary injunctions in various federal and state courts for trademark violations under the Lanham Act for cross-hauling, misbranding and other related trademark issues.  Amy regularly represents companies experiencing trademark infringement, including but not limited to counterfeiting and/or misbranding of consumer products.

Class Action

Automotive Company Class Action Litigation

Successfully defended one of the “Big 3” automotive manufacturers in multiple litigations concerning faulty products.

Environmental Contamination/Emissions Class Action Litigation

Defended various industries in putative class action cases brought under nuisance and negligence theories from purported industrial emissions.

Environmental Contamination/Oil Company UST Class Action Litigation

Successfully defended major oil company in putative class action involving allegations of underground storage tank leaks and related groundwater contamination. 

Oil Company Class Action Litigation

Represented major oil company in putative class action concerning nuisance and negligence allegations arising from an explosion at a refinery.

Tobacco Company False Branding/Labeling Class Action

Defended large tobacco company in putative class action involving allegations of false branding/labeling.

Construction/Real Estate

Commercial Real Estate Litigation

Represented developers, builders and real estate management companies in commercial lease, land use, partnership, business torts and related environmental issues.

Construction Litigation

Represents one of the world's largest publicly traded engineering, procurement, construction and project management companies in various construction-related disputes involving claims of negligence, misrepresentation, breach of contract, unjust enrichment, improper termination and scheduling issues.

Deed and Use Restriction Enforcement/Injunctive Litigation

Enforced deed and use restrictions for various commercial properties, including gas stations, retail outlets and franchises, concerning brand, product and site limitations in courts in Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois and Wisconsin.

Oil Company Construction Litigation

Represented large refinery in construction-related claims arising from expansion of the facility.

Oil Development Disputes

Handled oil well development disputes that have included contract negotiation, real estate (title, zoning, easement), trespass, nuisance, adverse possession and development rights.


Energy Company Royalty Litigation

Obtained dismissal for Michigan's largest public energy company in overriding royalty dispute concerning allegations of breach of fiduciary duty, alter ego, fraudulent drainage and lack of unitization of a gas field.

International Oil and Gas Litigation

Successfully defended major oil companies in complex litigation matters concerning upstream natural gas production involving application of foreign and state laws.

Natural Gas Energy Company Disputes

Represented large natural gas energy company in contract negotiations concerning hot flame, transportation, propane and pricing issues.

Oil and Gas Lease Issues and Litigation

Extensive experience representing investors, financial institutions and development/drilling companies and manufacturers in oil and gas leases, developments, easements, land restrictions/platting, royalties, timber/vegetation and related disputes. Experience ranges from lease negotiation and drafting through litigation. Amy has handled oil and gas lease issues in Michigan and Ohio.

Oil Company Commercial Litigation

Successfully prosecuted multi-million dollar claims of large petroleum company for breach of contract, warehouseman's liability and account stated arising from asphalt storage tank failure.

Oil Pipeline Commercial Litigation

Represented large oil pipeline in prosecuting claims of breach of contract and violations of the Uniform Commercial Code in relation to faulty additives manufactured by defendant.

Petroleum Marketing Practices Act Litigation

On numerous occasions, Amy has represented major refiners and franchisors in all aspects of petroleum marketing-related counseling and litigation, including terminations pursuant to the Petroleum Marketing Practices Act (PMPA) and multi-dealer litigation involving unfair pricing, product shrinkage, assignment and other franchise related issues in courts throughout the United States, including Alabama, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas and Wisconsin. 

Power Purchase Agreement Litigation

Lead counsel in $270 million arbitration representing Michigan's largest public utility in power purchase agreement dispute centered on utility accounting and methodologies, including avoided costs distinctions, capitalization, discount rates, health care and post-employment benefits, FERC Form 1 and MPSC P-521 accounting, PURPA and other regulatory implications.

Utility Dispute Litigation

Successfully represented large utility in multi-million dollar transmission, metering agreement and electric line loss dispute involving interpretation of MISO tariffs and FERC regulations.

Water Filtration Trade Secret Litigation

Represented principal developer of one of Michigan's largest brownfield redevelopments in trade secrets dispute with former contractor relating to water filtration technology.

Personal Injury Litigation Defense

Lead trial counsel in a number of personal injury cases involving wrongful death, amputation, scalping and various other injuries brought on theories of negligence, strict liability, nuisance, contractor liability and related claims in cases throughout the United States.

Product Liability Litigation

Trial counsel in a number of product liability cases, including the defense of design, manufacturing, UCC and warning theories for chemicals, biotechnology, automobiles, escalators, medical equipment, power tools, brakes, elevators, tires, component parts and vertical broaching machines.

Trademark Disputes/Anti-Counterfeiting

In separately litigated matters, Amy has secured preliminary injunctions in various federal and state courts for trademark violations under the Lanham Act for cross-hauling, misbranding and other related trademark issues.  Amy regularly represents companies experiencing trademark infringement, including but not limited to counterfeiting and/or misbranding of consumer products.


Best Lawyers in America, 2008-present
Personal Injury Litigation-Defendants
Mass Tort Litigation/Class Actions-Defendants

Michigan Super Lawyers 2006-present
Personal Injury Defense: Products
Top 25 Michigan Business Women, 2016
Top 50 Michigan Women 2011-2016, 2019
Top 100 in Michigan 2011, 2018

Michigan Lawyers Weekly, Women in the Law 2014

DBusiness Top Lawyers 2011-present

Cambridge Who's Who 2009

Marquis's Who's Who of Business Professionals 2009

Marquis's Who's Who of Emerging Leaders 2007

Professional Activities

Oakland County Bar Foundation, Fellow

Michigan State Bar Foundation, Fellow

American Bar Foundation, Fellow

Michigan Supreme Court, Committee on Model Jury Instructions, Jan. 1, 2017-Dec. 31, 2019

American Bar Association, Section of Environment, Energy and Resources Petroleum Marketing Committee, Chair 2007-2008, 2008-2009; Vice Chair, Membership 2009-present

American Inns of Court, Master of the Bench, 2003-2011

Litigation Counsel of America, The Trial Lawyer Honorary Society, State of Michigan Delegation Co-Chair, 2007-2013; Fellow, 2007-present

Diversity Law Institute

The Trial Law Institute

Association of Defense Trial Counsel

Defense Research Institute, E-Discovery Committee Member

Federal Bar Association

Michigan Defense Trial Counsel

Ohio Bar Association

State Bar of Michigan

International Franchise Association

Leadership Oakland XVII, Vice President

United States District Court Advanced Technology and Electronic Evidence Courtroom Certified, 2006

Product Liability Advisory Council (PLAC)

Civic, Cultural & Social Activities

Catholic Lawyers' Society, President, 2006-2008; Vice President 2005-2006; Board of Directors, 2004-present


Amy frequently presents on trial practice and procedure, and business and personal injury litigation issues. She has been a speaker and moderator at various State Bar of Michigan, Ohio Bar Association and American Bar Association conferences. She also provides private presentations to large and small businesses on litigation considerations, including risk management, litigation avoidance, evidence preservation and alternative dispute resolution.


"Tools for the Defense Deposition," co-authored with Erika Giroux, Michigan Bar Journal, March 2020

"Practical Advice for Obtaining Favorable Alternative Dispute Resolution Outcomes," Inside the Minds™: Trends in Alternative Dispute Resolution (Thomson Reuters/Aspatore 2012)

"The PMPA Landscape After Mac's Shell: A Survey of Significant PMPA Decisions in 2011," (co-author Robert E. Murkowski), ABA Section of Environment, Energy, and Resources, 2012

"Litigation Damages in the Petroleum Marketing and Franchise Industry," American Bar Association, Forum on Franchising (October 2007)

"Homeland Security, the Patriot Act and Effects on the Petroleum Marketing and Franchise Industry," American Bar Association, Forum on Franchising (October 2007)

"Alternative Dispute Resolution as a Cure to the Product Liability Epidemic," ADR Journal (June 1997)

"Fairness vs. Surprise: The Rebuttal Evidence Debate," 77 University of Detroit Law Review 531 (2000)