Jenner & Block

Automotive

Product Liability

  • Successfully represented General Motors Corporation in product liability cases involving vehicle incompatibility, aggressivity, crashworthiness, airbags, roll-over/roof crush and seatbelts. Examples of these cases include:
    • Obtained a defense verdict after a jury trial in a sudden acceleration case;
    • Obtained a defense verdict in a case brought by a plaintiff who was burned in a fire that originated in a van’s exhaust system;
    • Prevailed on summary judgment and Daubert motions in a high profile seat belt design defect case;
    • Obtained summary judgment in a brake death case after a truck rolled backwards, crushing the driver;
    • Prevailed on a motion for summary judgment in a crashworthiness case;
    • Prevailed on a motion for summary judgment in a control module defect case;
    • Prevailed on a motion for partial summary judgment in a rollover case relating to a car’s stability system and glass windows; and
    • Prevailed on a motion to dismiss a personal injury death case alleging a unique theory.
  • Successfully defended Nissan North America, Inc. in numerous class action and product liability cases, including:
    • Putative consumer class actions and warranty claims;
    • Disputes with major suppliers and in claims made by dealers; and
    • Consumer fraud and deceptive trade practices.
  • Regularly represent Tenneco, Inc., a manufacturer of automotive components and equipment for emissions controls and ride-control products and systems, in the defense of product liability claims involving automotive parts
  • Represented Motorola, Inc. and obtained a multi-million dollar settlement for the client in a warranty dispute with a supplier relating to OnStar GPS systems and the recall of over 300,000 vehicles
  • Successfully defended SPX Corporation and its subsidiary company – SPX Contech Metal Forge, a provider of suspension links, front axle housing, rear axle cover, steering tilt housing and steering support products – in various product liability claims
  • Handled dozens of consumer class action cases involving fraud and warranty claims on behalf of Cummins Westport

Patent Litgation and Counseling

  • Successfully defended Nissan North America, Inc. in multiple patent defense actions involving automobile technology. Examples of these cases include:
    • Obtained a dismissal of major patent infringement suit against the client regarding patents related to a certain piston configuration and a solid film lubricant coating for pistons;
    • Successfully defended the client by obtaining summary judgment of invalidity on four patents relating to side impact crash and airbag technology; and
    • Successfully defended the client by obtaining summary judgment of invalidity on three patents relating to occupant detection technology.
  • Successfully defended an automobile manufacturer against patent infringement claims involving side-impact sensors in automobiles

Transactional Practice

Mergers and Acquisitions

  • Represented General Motors Corporation in the Section 363 sale of substantially all of its assets to a newly formed entity sponsored by the U.S. Treasury in connection with General Motors Corporation’s voluntary petition for relief under Chapter 11 of the United States Bankruptcy Code
  • Represented General Motors Corporation in its $5.6 billion sale of Allison Transmission to The Carlyle Group and Onex Corporation
  • Represented General Dynamics in connection with its Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicle program joint venture with Force Protection, Inc.
  • Represented General Dynamics in its $1.1 billion acquisition of General Motor’s armored vehicle business
  • Represented Tenneco, Inc. in its six-year, $25 billion, corporate restructuring, which included numerous acquisitions, mergers, spin-offs and divestitures and ultimately resulted in the creation of several separate public companies
  • Represented Meter S.p.A., an Italian designer and producer of ball and cylindrical roller bearings for automobiles and other uses, in its establishment of a manufacturing presence in South Carolina
  • Represented HHI Group Holdings, the largest North American manufacturer of forged components for automotive customers, principally in the light vehicle market, and a manufacturer of complex, metal powertrain components and wheel bearings, in its acquisitions of Cloyes Gear and Products, Jernberg Industries, Impact Forge, FormTech, and the bearings business of Delphi Automotive Systems
  • Represented Honeywell, a manufacturer of technologies included in automobiles and other consumer and industrial products, in the sale of its “Automotive-On- Board” sensor products business to Sensata Technologies for $140 million
  • Represented Hertz Corporation in connection with its $930 million acquisition of Donlen Corporation, a leading provider of fleet leasing and management services
  • Represented Hertz Corporation in connection with its acquisition of a minority interest in Navigation Solutions LLC

Securities and Corporate Finance

  • Represented General Motors Corp. in its $23.1 billion initial public offering (the second largest IPO ever)
  • Advised General Motors Corp. on the issuance and repurchase of various types of securities totaling close to $30 billion and a $5 billion revolving credit facility
  • Advised Hertz Corporation in connection with multiple Rule 144A notes offerings totaling more than $3.6 billion

Private Equity and Investment Funds

  • Represented General Motors Asset Management in private equity and venture capital fund investments as well as direct co-investments
  • Represented General Dynamics Pension Trust in investments in various private funds

Real Estate

  • Represented General Motors Corporation in connection with the sale of real estate assets as part of its Section 363 sale under the United States Bankruptcy Code
  • Represented General Dynamics in connection with the sale and acquisition of numerous manufacturing, industrial and office facilities and the lease, design and construction of multiple facilities in the United States and one in Mexico
  • Represented Hertz Corporation in connection with the acquisition of significant parcels of land and drafted and negotiated nationwide sub-concession agreements, leases and subleases

General Contracts

  • Advised Lotus Cars Limited in connection with termination of its engine manufacturers agreement with Indy Racing League LLC (IRL)

Other Counseling Services

Regulatory Compliance and Corporate Governance

  • Regularly appointed by corporate boards of directors in connection with confidential investigations into company practices and other regulatory matters
  • Represent automotive companies across the supply chain – from manufacturers to parts suppliers to distributors and other types of companies – in matters related to state and federal regulations
  • Serve as regular counsel to automotive and related industrial companies in connection with board responsibilities, matters related to transactional due diligence, advising committees and other issues related to proper corporate conduct

Labor, Employment and Employee Benefits

  • Counsel employers in myriad sensitive personnel decisions, such as hiring, promotion, performance evaluation, discipline, compensation and discharge issues, reductions in force, exit incentive programs, releases, leaves of absence and harassment issues
  • Structured senior executive compensation and severance packages for several multi-national automobile manufacturers
  • Counsel to large automotive companies and other manufacturers in connection with the full range of traditional employee benefit and executive compensation matters as well as in emerging issues involving health care reform, the Dodd-Frank Act, 401(k) fee disclosure, worker misclassification, clawback policies and other related areas

Tax

  • Counseled large automobile manufacturer in connection with projects and contractual arrangements with respect to transfer pricing issues, including entry into an oversight/management contract between the manufacturer’s headquarters and a foreign vehicle manufacturer subsidiary
  • Obtained on behalf of Meter S.p.A. tax and other concessions in connection with the establishment of a manufacturing facility in South Carolina

Environmental and Workplace Health and Safety (EHS)

  • Serve as the regular environmental counsel for automotive manufacturers and tier 1 parts suppliers, handling the full spectrum of EHS legal issues, including litigation, regulatory and transactional matters

Antitrust and Unfair Competition

  • Obtained a settlement for nuisance value on behalf of Tenneco, Inc. in a Robinson-Patman action filed against the client by a number of auto parts distributors
  • Successfully defended Volvo Trucks North America, a leading heavy truck and engine manufacturer, in a case in which a Volvo truck dealership sued the client for violating the Robinson-Patman Act
  • Represented multiple tier 1 auto parts manufacturers in connection with price fixing and antitrust cases
  • Represented Insurance Auto Auctions, Inc. in NAD proceedings against primary competitor Copart Inc. in a claim involving “white paper” directed toward industry-wide leadership and pricing claims

Intellectual Property

  • Counsel automotive clients with respect to protection of intellectual property and allegations of infringement of intellectual property, including indemnification from suppliers
  • Advised on and defended against cases brought by “non-practicing entities” (NPEs), sometimes referred to as “patent trolls,” and have become familiar with NPEs' typical strategies and techniques. We also have substantial experience litigating patent cases in the venues NPEs typically target

Government Contracts

  • Jenner & Block’s Government Contracts practice is rated as one of the top 5 in the United States by Chambers USA, which notes us as a leader in the bid protest and civil False Claims Act arenas