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 counselor and trial lawyer 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 built on 30 years of service to automotive manufacturers and suppliers 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 counseled and represented clients in hundreds of automotive supply chain disputes from coast to coast. He 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 recognized as a Michigan Super Lawyer, and is listed in “The Best Lawyers in America,” for his expertise in commercial litigation and 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 cost recovery 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
  • 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
  • Product liability and personal injury defense counsel for leading automotive component manufacturers in cases throughout the United States

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,” (2010-2024)
  • “Super Lawyer,” Michigan Super Lawyers – Business and Commercial Litigation (2008-2024)
  • “Leading Lawyer,” dBusiness (2024)
  • State Bars of Michigan and California
  • Oakland County Bar Association

Speaking Engagements/Authored Works

  • “Supply-Chain Economics and Cost Recovery Amid Global Disruption,” 2023 Original Equipment Supplier Association (OESA)
  • “Emerging Issues in Warranty and Recall Claims,” 2021 OESA
  • “Cost Recovery Claims:  Discipline Drives Fairness,” 2019 OESA
  • “Cost Recovery Claims: Strategies, Perspectives and Best Practices,” 2018 OESA
  • “Warranty 2017: Terms, Trends and Best Practices,” 2017 OESA
  • “Recalls: Navigating the New Normal,” 2016 OESA
  • “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
  • “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
  • Founding editor of the OESA N.A. OEM Production P.O. Terms and Conditions Comparative Analysis and author of the “Warranty, Recall, Product Liability and Indemnity” sections
Specialists in High-Stakes Litigation, Bankruptcy and Supply Chain Counseling.
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