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Michelman & Robinson, LLP’s (M&R’s) attorneys are intimately familiar with the automotive industry. We represent some of the largest national and international automobile dealerships, major tow truck companies, and automotive insurers. We understand the customs, standards and practices of the automotive industry.

Our attorneys have successfully defended dealers, distributors and manufacturers in consumer actions through trial and appeal, and our class action track record in the industry is unrivaled. We deliver business litigation defense services to automotive dealership owners in connection with allegations of unfair business practices, contractual disputes and general defense claims in both state and federal courts. We provide risk management advice, contract review and counseling in connection with complex dealership sales transactions. Additionally, our intellectual property attorneys have extensive expertise with registering trademarks, copyrights and domain names to provide brand protection.

M&R attorneys have vast experience counseling automotive companies on legal and regulatory compliance issues with federal and state agencies. Our lawyers routinely provide counsel, handle labor and employment issues, and help automotive clients implement strategies to operate at an optimum level and  avoid unnecessary claims. We have a proven track record of attaining favorable results in cases involving trade secret misappropriation, wage and hour disputes, harassment and wrongful termination. Further, we have a history of successfully representing dealerships threatened by violations of non-competition, confidentiality and other employment agreements that could be harmful to their businesses.

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Areas Of Expertise

The following is a select sampling of our representative matters:

  • Breach of Contract; Trade Secret Misappropriation:  Secured a multi-million dollar settlement for a wholesaler provider of emergency roadside services following preliminary party depositions in a breach of contract, trade secret misappropriation and tortuous interference claims against a GE subsidiary.
  • Class Action: Represented major automobile manufacturer in a multiple consumer class actions which were dismissed with prejudice on demurrer.
  • Counseling: Serve as employment counsel for international automobile repair and roadside assistance company with over 500 employees.
  • Employment Counsel: Advised trucking industry employers on wage and hour issues including Department of Transportation (DOT) hours of service, drug testing and related regulations.
  • Litigation: Obtained complete dismissal on all claims (many with prejudice) in a federal action in which a large automotive retail company was accused of RICO violations, fraud, and unfair business practices. 
  • Patent Infringement and Shareholder Litigation: An automotive supplier’s product was being infringed upon. In addition, the shareholder of a subsidiary company was attempting to take control of the entire company. M&R designed a strategy of litigation regarding the patents, the scope of the corporate governance documents and, ultimately, the sale of the company. After two years of intense litigation, M&R was able to retain control and sell the company for the highest multiple seen in that industry; well over nine figures.
  • Unfair CompetitionSuccessful prosecution of an injunctive relief action for a large transportation company involving unfair competition, improper solicitation of customers and the covenant not to compete.
  • Wage & Hour Class Action: Obtained favorable settlements on behalf of automotive insurance clients in numerous wage and hour class action cases alleging violations, including failure to pay overtime, provide meal and rest breaks, and  pay business expenses.
  • WARN Act: Advised automotive insurance clients on WARN Act implications in a number of corporate restructure/asset sales.
  • Whistleblowing/Sexual Harassment Defense: Defended tow company in sexual harassment lawsuit resulting in the minimum recovery by establishing the defense of consent.
  • Wrongful Termination Defense: As part of a trial team, obtained a defense verdict for a Fortune 100 transportation company after a three-week jury trial in which the employee claimed wrongful termination as a whistleblower reporting alleged hours of service violations. Successfully defended the verdict on appeal.
  • Wrongful Termination Defense: Successfully defended a trucking industry employer against pregnancy discrimination and retaliation claims made by a female driver after establishing that she had a record of safety violations and had falsified Department of Transportation (DOT) logs regarding hours worked.

Appeals

  • Testan v. Carlsen Motor Car, Ventura County Superior Court Case No. SC016007; Court of Appeal Case Nos., 8137476, 8139112; 2002 Cal.App.Unpub.LEXIS 3867: Defended an automobile dealer, distributor and manufacturer (Porsche) in a consumer action and successfully obtained attorneys’ fees from the plaintiff.
  • Alan v. American Honda, Los Angeles County Superior Court No. 8C195461, Appellate Case: Won a denial of class certification for American Honda.

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