Automobile Dealer Representation

Towne, Ryan & Partners, P.C. attorneys are recognized authorities in automobile dealership legal issues, regulation and litigation in New York and Vermont.  We provide legal representation to scores of new and used car and truck dealers, from everyday legal counsel to issues arising during transactions and in the course of dealings with agencies such as the Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA), Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) and New York State Office of the Attorney General.

We skillfully counsel clients on how to best comply with the strict regulations imposed on automobile dealers and have successfully represented dealerships in handling consumer complaints and government investigations and prosecutions.  Our firm serves 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, ranging from negligent entrustment, bailment and premises liability claims to employee claims against the dealership and claims against employees.

Our exposure to every aspect of automobile dealership operations makes the Towne, Ryan & Partners, P.C.‘s attorneys an invaluable resource in all business and legal issues confronting the day-to-day operation of vehicle distribution facilities.

  • Advertising compliance issues
  • Anti-harassment and best practices training for employees and managers
  • “Buy Here-Pay Here” banking licenses
  • Buy-sell agreements
  • Covenants Not to Compete litigation
  • Employee defalcation claims
  • F & I Compliance issues
  • 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
  • OSHA compliance claims
  • Planning and zoning issues
  • Real property tax protests
  • Succession planning matters
  • Vehicle Safety relations with the NY State Department of Motor Vehicles
  • 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
  • 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

The Firm provides legal representation to dozens of dealers throughout New York and Vermont.  As a former publisher of the Auto Dealer’s Newsletter, the Firm gained a reputation for its expertise in assisting dealers with any legal or administrative problem presented.  Existing clients, factory representatives and lenders regularly refer new clients to our firm with confidence.

Reliable Experience

James 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, Mr. Towne 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 to 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 who assist in any unique circumstance in factory relations or regulatory issues.  As an attorney with extensive experience in representing dealers, Mr. Towne 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 Conferences.  Most recently Ms. Ryan presented at the April 2015 NADC Conference on Legal Updates Impacting Dealerships on topics including 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.