Herbert C. Donovan

Areas of Practice

  • Business and Commercial Litigation
  • Warranty and Recall Cost Recovery Litigation and Risk Mitigation
  • NHTSA and related regulatory and reporting regulations and compliance
  • Supply Chain and Contract Counseling, Drafting and Training
  • Product Liability Defense and Avoidance
  • Legal and contractual implications of emerging automotive technologies
Bert Donovan is a trial lawyer and counselor who specializes in complex commercial litigation, automotive safety, regulatory compliance counseling and product liability litigation. He has a special emphasis and deep expertise in automotive contracting and supply chain counseling, and is a warranty, recall and cost recovery 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, force majeure and commercial impracticability 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 Business and Commercial Litigation Product Liability defense. He is a 1991 graduate of the Notre Dame Law School.

Recent Experience Includes

  • Lead supplier counsel on many “bet-the-company” OEM/Tier 1 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
  • Counsel for leading automotive component manufacturers in catastrophic personal injury cases throughout the United States
  • Advising Automotive Tier 1 suppliers on FMVSS and NHTSA regulations, reporting, compliance 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,” (2010-2017)
  • “Super Lawyer,” Michigan Super Lawyers – Business and Commercial Litigation (2008-2017)
  • “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

  • “Cost Recovery Claims: Strategies, Perspectives and Best Practices,” 2018 Original Equipment Supplier Association (OESA)
  • “Warranty 2017: Terms, Trends and Best Practices,” 2017 OESA
  • “Recalls: Navigating the New Normal,” 2016 OESA
  • “Warranty Cost Sharing – Contract Language and Best Practices,” 2015 OESA, CPO Council
  • “Recall Readiness and Management – The Supplier Playbook,” 2015 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 OESA, Legal Issues Council
  • “Truly Global Terms and Conditions,” 2013 OESA
  • “OEM Warranty: Real Stories, Winning Solutions and Best Practices,” 2012 OESA
  • “Documents, Dollars and Sense: Identifying, Mitigating and Allocating Key Risks and Costs from the CPO’s Perspective,” 2012 OESA, CPO Council
  • “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
  • 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
  • “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
Specialists in High-Stakes Litigation, Bankruptcy and Supply Chain Counseling.
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