Automobile Dealer Representation

Automobile Dealer Representation

For nearly four decades the Firm’s attorneys have provided legal representation to scores of new and used car and truck dealers on a daily basis.  This representation has covered all aspects of a dealership’s operation and ownership, including:

  • “Buy Here-Pay Here” banking licenses;
  • Advertising compliance issues;
  • Anti-harassment and best practices training for employees and managers;
  • Buy-sell agreements;
  • Covenants Not to Compete litigation;
  • Employee defalcation claims;
  • Employment matters including claims founded upon sexual harassment, age, race, gender, religion, sexual preference and disability claims;
  • Environmental matters including spills, site remediation, air quality matters, air pollution claims against adjoining property owners, SPEDES permitting, PRP discharge claims and other environmental matters arising from dealership operations;
  • F & I Compliance issues;
  • Factory relations including facility upgrade requirements, program audits, CSI deficiencies, dualing facility prohibitions, parts return disputes, termination standards and compensation, siting disputes and all other factory standard compliance disputes;
  • Federal and State odometer roll-back audits;
  • Floor plan issues;
  • Fraud claims asserted by dealers against third party vendors;
  • Insurance audits, factory reviews and assessments;
  • Key personnel employment contracts;
  • Litigation, both insurance defense and uninsured matters. Our firm has been selected as panel counsel for a number of insurance carriers which regularly issue policies of insurance for auto dealers covering every aspect of a dealer’s insured operations from negligent entrustment, bailment, premises liability claims, employee claims against the dealership, claims against employees and the like.;
  • OSHA compliance claims;
  • Planning and zoning issues;
  • Real property tax protests;
  • Succession planning matters; and
  • Vehicle Safety relations with the NY State Department of Motor Vehicles.

Additionally, the exposure to each and every aspect of a dealership’s operations makes the Firm’s attorneys an invaluable resource with respect to all business and legal issues confronting the day to day operation of a facility.

The Firm provides legal representation to dozens of dealers throughout New York and Vermont.  As the publishers of the Auto Dealer’s Newsletter, the Firm gained a reputation for knowing how to assist dealers with virtually any legal or administrative problem presented.  Referrals of new clients occur regularly from existing clients, factory representatives and lenders.  Jim Towne has worked at the request of both factory representatives and floor plan lenders to extricate a variety of dealers from the problems presented by a changing economic landscape over the past 35 years.  For nearly 10 years, Jim was General Counsel to the Capital Region Auto Dealers Association (CRADA), now known as Eastern New York Coalition of Automotive Retailers (ENYCAR).  During that time, the Firm and its’ staff of attorneys and professionals devoted hundreds of hours in assisting with the growth and expansion of ENYCAR’s nationally acclaimed DEEP Safety and Health Program.

As members of the National Association of Dealer Counsel (NADC), the Firm has access to the nationwide resources of hundreds of attorneys to assist in any unique circumstance in factory relations or regulatory issues.  As an attorney with extensive experience in representing dealers, Jim has co-lectured dealers on compliance with New York’s advertising guidelines.

Partner Claudia Ryan has also lectured before dealer trade groups on varying topics, including presentations at the NADC’s Annual Membership Conference.  Most recently Ms. Ryan along with Partner Susan Bartkowski presented at the April 2015 NADC Conference on Legal Updates Impacting Dealerships.  The topic reviewed recent National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) case law regarding employee handbooks, the use and regulation of social media by employees, guns in the workplace and medical marijuana, all of which have an impact on automotive dealership owners and their employees.