Category Archives: Litigation

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Top Antitrust Issues Facing Automotive Suppliers in 2015

Recent U.S. and international antitrust developments will have important implications in 2015 for the automotive industry. U.S. antitrust developments include, in particular: The ongoing antitrust investigations and civil damage litigation involving the auto parts industry; Ever-increasing pressure for effective legal compliance programs; and Challenges to mergers (large and small, non-reportable) underscoring continued tough and aggressive enforcement … Continue reading this entry

Protect Your Safety Investigations and Deliberations From Prying Eyes

Every day companies deal with an ongoing safety analysis of their own products. These Safety Teams are routinely interdepartmental. The Safety Teams must consider design changes, manufacturing issues, potential recalls, potential claims or lawsuits and overall consumer safety. Sensitive information is always shared by the Safety Team. Companies believe (or hope) that the process, including any … Continue reading this entry

When It Comes to Confidentiality Agreements, Just Getting the Signature Is Not Enough

New Federal Trade Secret Protections on the Horizon?
Automotive suppliers and other manufacturers frequently have to share their valuable intellectual property with third parties. A supplier might need to share CAD files with another supplier to ensure that the finished product works, or a business that has designed a product may outsource the manufacturing to a business that can better handle production. Parties to such … Continue reading this entry

Stop Product Liability Claims Now!

OSHA Turns Its Sights on Auto Suppliers
More and more recalls mean more and more product liability claims. Even without recalls, for companies in the Automotive Industry product liability claims are a way of life. So, what do you do to prevent such claims? Knowing that they are inevitable, what do you do to make sure that their impact is minimized? When thinking of product … Continue reading this entry

A Busy Year for NHTSA Enforcement and Rulemaking

This promises to be one of NHTSA’s busiest years for enforcement and rulemaking activity. NHTSA is expected to continue its aggressive enforcement, sparked by GM’s massive ignition switch recall and the flood of follow-on recalls by GM and other manufacturers. And the agency is moving forward with research and possible rulemaking on advanced crash avoidance … Continue reading this entry

Want to Arbitrate Employee Disputes? Keep Your Paperwork!

U.S. Supreme Court Expands Scope of Whistleblower Protections
Arbitration agreements, and their use as a means to avoid class action disputes in particular, have been repeat news items in the last several years, and many companies continue to consider their use as a means to mitigate class action litigation risks. For companies who have implemented such agreements, a recent federal court decision reminds … Continue reading this entry

Timing May Be Everything in Breach of Warranty Claims

In the wake of the recent recalls and warranty campaigns, suppliers should bear in mind the threshold statute of limitations defense that they may have to any attempts by the OEMs to recover against them for costs for issues that the OEMs may have known about for years, but failed to act upon. An OEM seeking … Continue reading this entry

Federal Court Reminds Trade Secret Owners That the Statute of Limitations Isn’t Everything When it Comes to Misappropriation Claims

Several years after an employee leaves your company, you realize that he or she has been using confidential and proprietary information acquired from your business to compete against you. Your non-compete agreement with the employee had expired before the employee started using the information, and you know that the statute of limitations under your state’s … Continue reading this entry

NHTSA and GM Agree to Resolve Timeliness Claims Related to Ignition Switch Recall

Last week, NHTSA and GM announced an agreement to resolve recall timeliness claims related to GM’s massive Ignition Switch recall. In addition to the widely-reported $35 million civil penalty GM has agreed to pay (the maximum under the Safety Act), GM has agreed to various behavioral changes, reporting requirements and other commitments related both to the … Continue reading this entry

Automotive Suppliers Get Ready for Your Recalls

It is impossible to be in the Automotive Industry and not be involved in, aware of, concerned about or otherwise thinking about recalls. But as a supplier, what are you doing now to be ready for what many feel is the inevitable call from your customers or the government? What are you doing to prepare? … Continue reading this entry

What’s Next for Conflict Minerals Rules After D.C. Circuit Decision?

On April 14, 2014, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit (D.C. Circuit) issued its long-anticipated ruling in the industry challenge to the Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) conflict minerals rules, and – as we forecast in a previous blog post – free speech issues proved to be critical to the … Continue reading this entry

Making Your Termination Decision Count (Don’t Sleep On This One…)

The success or failure of an employer’s defenses in employment litigation often turns on what motivated a termination decision. My consistently low productivity numbers on the assembly line or my complaint about harassment? My taking of leave or requesting of accommodation, or the ongoing business struggles making it necessary to cut costs? As a consequence, … Continue reading this entry

U.S. Supreme Court Expands Scope of Whistleblower Protections

Earlier this month, the U.S. Supreme Court concluded that whistleblower protections of Sarbanes-Oxley extend not only to employees of public companies, but to the employees of their contractors and subcontractors. See Lawson v. FMR LLC, 571 U.S. ___, slip op. (Mar. 4, 2014). By reaching into the workforces of companies that are not themselves regulated by … Continue reading this entry

Non-U.S. Companies Struggle to Implement U.S.-Style Document Retention Policies

Many of us in the U.S. legal community know that developing and implementing a defensible document retention policy is important, if not crucial, to a company’s data management. It can speed up the procedures in, or reduce the costs associated with document preservation and document production. This common understanding, however, is often times not understood … Continue reading this entry

Top Legal Issues Facing Suppliers in 2014

We know that you have been considering what business and commercial issues you will face in 2014 (and perhaps beyond) as an Automotive Supplier. But, have you been considering what legal issues you are likely to face? Do you know what is happening in Antitrust, Commercial Litigation, Compliance, NHTSA and Automotive Safety, Data Security and Privacy, … Continue reading this entry

Are You “At Home” in the State In Which You Must Defend Against a Lawsuit? The Implications of Daimler AG v. Bauman

The U.S. Supreme Court recently issued a much anticipated decision in Daimler AG v. Bauman that will not only reverberate through the legal world, but the auto world as well. Large corporations that do business across a wide expanse of territory, or who have subsidiaries doing business in many jurisdictions, are now more protected in … Continue reading this entry

Could “Free Speech” Issues Derail the SEC’s Conflict Minerals Rule?

Shortly after the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) adopted its conflict minerals disclosure rule in August 2012, a coalition of business interests filed suit to challenge the SEC’s rule as unduly burdensome. That legal challenge to the conflict minerals rule entered its latest stage on Tuesday, January 7, 2014, when three judges of the U.S. … Continue reading this entry

New Year, Time to Think Prospectively

At the start of the new year, (in addition to making some personal resolutions), it is a good time to think prospectively about our industry, our business, and the legal challenges we anticipate. For my compliance clients, that means dusting off those policies and procedures sitting on the shelf and newly assessing your business and legal … Continue reading this entry

AAA Makes Substantial Revisions to Commercial Arbitration Rules

The American Arbitration Association (“AAA”) issued new Arbitration Rules and Mediation Procedures governing commercial disputes for AAA commercial arbitrations initiated on or after October 1, 2013. Arbitration proceedings filed prior to October 1, 2013 continue to be governed by the Arbitration Rules & Mediation Procedures amended and effective June 1, 2010.  There are a number … Continue reading this entry

Illinois Court Strikes Down Restrictive Covenant

On June 24, 2013, an appellate court in Illinois made it more difficult for Illinois employers, including those in the automotive industry, to enforce non-solicitation and non-competition provisions. Specifically, the court determined that such restrictive covenants won’t be enforceable unless the employee in question works for at least two years after signing the restrictive covenant. … Continue reading this entry

Growing Judicial Acceptance of Predictive Coding Highlights the Need for Inside and Outside Counsel to Consider Its Use in Document Intensive Litigation

When predictive coding technology made its way into the public consciousness in or about 2011, the biggest barrier to its widespread use – and probably the second most common question for attorneys following these issues, right after “does it work” – was the open question of whether judges would accept its use over a challenge from opposing … Continue reading this entry

Electronic Discovery Costs and Requests for Cost-Shifting

A supplier who has had to respond to discovery requests that seek electronically stored information (“ESI”) knows there is a general presumption that the responding party bears the expense of complying with the discovery requests. Although this presumption may be overcome and allow cost-shifting when discovery requests impose an undue burden on the responding party, a … Continue reading this entry

Supplier Relationships: Where Breakdowns Occur

Supplier relationships do not break down overnight. Often the reasons or causes for the breakdowns are not those in the moment, but those that companies do not prepare for. A breakdown with the supplier relationship is often tied to a mistake that takes place days, months or even years before. These mistakes take many forms, but usually … Continue reading this entry