The Open Road Automotive Law Blog

News and analysis of legal issues affecting the Automotive Industry

The Open Road features legal thought leaders from all areas of the transportation economy including corporate transactions, products liability and class actions, insurance regulation, environmental compliance, and supply chain management. As the automotive sector faces new challenges from international actors, technological innovations, and emerging business models, The Open Road will help insiders navigate the legal and regulatory issues facing the new automotive industry landscape.

In a recent meeting with the Original Equipment Suppliers Association (“OESA”), manufacturing human resources representatives were surprised to learn how different California employment laws are from the laws in the rest of the United States. Below is a summary of what laws most surprised the attendees: California has daily as well as weekly overtime rules; California requires employers to pay employees premium pay for missed lunch and rest breaks; California has very specific rules regarding…
In a move that could impact tens of thousands of workers and 30% of U.S. goods, there may be a freight rail stoppage starting Friday, September 14, 2022, if rail operators and unions fail to reach a deal by 12:01 a.m. ET on Friday.  Due to this potential lack of staff, as of Tuesday, September 13, some rail operators even stopped accepting certain freight (such as hazardous materials), because there may not be anyone available…
The recent Tesla fire in Houston reportedly took four-plus hours to extinguish completely because of continued flareups. This highlights some of the challenges faced by auto manufacturers (and fire departments) as electric vehicles start to take over the roads, including unique issues related to lithium-ion fires.  Dykema attorneys Deron Wade, Jeff Cox and Rebekah Hudgins recently presented a litigation update addressing: “How Going All Electric May Impact the Future of Fire Litigation” (PowerPoint Slides –…
Despite the Cataclysm of COVID-19 Shutdowns, Automotive Operations Had Successful Reopenings The abrupt shutdown of U.S. automotive industry in March 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic and continued stay-at-home orders through April led to fears that the pandemic would prevent resumption of industry operations for the foreseeable future. A survey of automotive industry executives conducted last month by Dykema, MICHAuto and The Right Place confirmed that 84% of the automotive company respondents were required to shut…
The automotive industry is a critical component of the U.S. economy connecting a wide range of industries, from part and raw material suppliers to providers needed for the day-to-day sale and operation of vehicles. In July 2020, Dykema, MICHauto and The Right Place canvassed automotive executives, professionals and service providers to gauge their perspectives on the U.S. economy and the automotive industry and, particularly, the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic. Click on the links below…
Partnering with MICHauto and The Right Place, Dykema developed a five-minute flash survey to evaluate the current state of the automotive industry. Please click here to participate in the survey. The results will be analyzed to provide insight regarding the impact COVID-19 has had on businesses in the automotive industry. Dykema will also share feedback received regarding how operations could change moving forward. Your response to this short survey is anonymous. Click here to share…
What Do You Do When Your Contract Does Not Contain A Force Majeure Clause? As the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues to spread rapidly throughout the United States—and the world—commercial relationships are being thrown into disarray, resulting in the disruption of supply chains, cancellations of events, and closures of restaurants and other businesses. Several states have declared a state of emergency (including banning large group gatherings and mandating that certain business shutter for the time being).…
Michigan Governor Whitmer signed Executive Order 2020-77 today, permitting manufacturing workers to resume work as part of the MI Safe Start Plan. Manufacturing workers, including workers in the automotive industry, are allowed to resume work on May 11, 2020, one week ahead of the planned restart date of certain Michigan automakers. See Executive Order No. 2020-77, Section 10(k). However, this resumption of work is subject to stringent precautionary measures and safeguards identified in the…
While the coronavirus has sent shockwaves through every service sector, the impact on the transportation industry has been especially severe. Automotive plants have shut down, new car sales have plummeted, and Uber and Lyft have reduced their workforce as social distancing has drastically reduced the demand for ride-hailing. In a world where stay-at-home orders are the norm, all forms of mobility have seen an abrupt decline and the entire transportation economy has suffered. Providers of…
Proactive Analysis and Protocols Can Reduce Costs and Better Ensure Continuity of Supply The extent of disruption caused by COVID-19 is unknowable at this time. However, it is likely that there will be suppliers unable to economically weather the storm. Having represented manufacturing customers and suppliers for decades, one thing is certain: even the most sophisticated entities make costly mistakes in addressing distressed suppliers without realizing they paid more as a customer than was necessary.…