Herbert C. (Bert) Donovan

Location: Birmingham, Michigan
Phone: 248-971-1720
Fax: 248-971-1801
Email: donovan@bwst-law.com

Bert Donovan is a trial lawyer and counselor who specializes in complex commercial litigation, product liability, automotive safety, and regulatory compliance. He has a special emphasis and deep expertise in automotive contracting and supply chain counseling, and is a warranty and recall expert. Bert often counsels clients regarding issues pertaining to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. He has successfully represented and counseled clients in hundreds of automotive supply chain disputes, and regularly advises many of the world’s leading automotive suppliers regarding warranty risks and claims, contracting and supply chain risks, recalls and related cost recovery claims and corresponding “best practices” for contracting and communication. He is a sought after speaker on these topics. Mr. Donovan has also been identified as a dBusiness Top Lawyer, a Michigan Super Lawyer, and is listed in “The Best Lawyers in America,” in Product Liability, Business and Commercial Litigation, and Personal Injury Litigation, respectively. He is a 1991 graduate of the Notre Dame Law School.

Recent Experience Includes


• Regional counsel for leading tire manufacturers in catastrophic personal injury cases
• Lead supplier counsel on many "bet-the-company" OEM/Tier I warranty, recall and program termination disputes with demands up to several hundred million dollars

• Supply chain contracting and gap analysis for the purpose of identifying and implementing best practices to mitigate and allocate risk through revised contracts and pro-active supply chain strategies

• Representation and counseling of suppliers in hundreds of automotive supply chain pricing, duration and quality disputes, including stop shipments and TROs
• National representation of major Tier One automotive chassis component manufacturers in defense of ABS product liability litigation
• Long time counsel to the Original Equipment Supplier Association's Chief Purchasing Officers' Council
• Advising Tiered suppliers and start-up electric vehicle and commercial heavy-duty vehicle manufacturers on FMVSS and NHTSA regulations, reporting and certification obligations and options
• Negotiation and drafting of long supply agreements and terms and conditions


Education, Professional Associations and Awards


• Notre Dame Law School (J.D., 1991) 
• Concannon Programme of International Law in London, England (1990)
• James Madison College at Michigan State University (B.A., 1987)
• “The Best Lawyers in America,” (2010-2016)
• “Super Lawyer,” Michigan Super Lawyers - Business and Commercial Litigation (2008-2015)
• “Top Lawyer,” dBusiness  (2011-2012; 2014-2015)
• Sustaining Member, Product Liability Advisory Council
• State Bars of Michigan and California
• Oakland County Bar Association


Speaking Engagements/Authored Works


• Recall Readiness and Management – The Supplier Playbook, 2015 Original Equipment Supplier Association (OESA)
• “Insights and Analysis of OEM Warranty Programs for Suppliers,” 2015 OESA
• “Strategies for Minimizing Supplier Exposure in Warranty, Recall and Product Liability Claims,” 2014 Original Equipment Suppliers Association (OESA) Legal Issues Council
• "Truly Global Terms and Conditions," 2013 OESA
• "OEM Warranty: Real Stories, Winning Solutions and Best Practices," 2012 OESA
• Managing editor of the OESA N.A. OEM Production P.O. Terms and Conditions Comparative Analysis (2009 and 2010 editions) and author of the “Warranty, Recall, Product Liability and Indemnity” sections
• “Recalls and Emerging Regulation: Backlash, Risks and Responses from the Industry’s Perspective,” 2011 KPMG Legal Share Forum
• “OEM Warranty Programs: Trends, Troubles and Tactics,” 2011 OESA
• “The Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 2010: Issues, Risks and Responses from the Suppliers Perspective,” 2010 OESA Legal Issues Council
• “Adequate Assurances and Payment Terms: Facts and Myths,” OESA
• “Lessons Learned and Key Concepts to Consider in the Selling Process,” OESA Legal Issues Council
• “From the Supplier’s Perspective: Preparing for Warranty, Recall and Product Liability Litigation,” OESA

Areas of Practice


• Business and Commercial Litigation
• Product Liability Defense
• Warranty and Recall Litigation and Risk Mitigation
• Supply Chain and Contract Counseling, Drafting and Training
• NHTSA and related regulatory and reporting regulations and compliance
• Legal and contractual implications of emerging automotive technologies