American Automobile Industry Supplier v. German Automobile Industry Supplier

I served as lead litigation counsel, successfully assisted our client, a European manufacturer and supplier of tooling for the automobile industry, in avoiding suit in the United States. This particular German manufacturer has always tried to keep its operations and management within Germany. It has also sought to avoid the hassle and expense of legal proceedings in foreign venues. In 2007, however, this manufacturer was sued in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio. Some of its tooling was being used there by an American automobile industry supplier. The American company alleged that the tooling was defective, claiming damages in excess of $5 million. With the benefit of the briefing which I authored, the German manufacturer obtained a victory in February 2008 on its initial motion to dismiss. The Court found that the German manufacturer's practices and forms prevent jurisdiction in Ohio. It found "no indication that [the German manufacturer] sought to exploit Ohio markets." The plaintiff failed to establish that [the German manufacturer] purposely availed itself of the benefits and protections of Ohio’s laws.” The Uniform Commercial Code (UCC) and the United Nations Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods (CISG) provided additional support for the Court's decision. The Court thus dismissed all claims for lack of personal jurisdiction.