Colm is an experienced trial lawyer whose practice focuses on motor vehicle franchise law and class action defense. Colm has handled litigation for motor vehicle manufacturers in more than 25 jurisdictions. These clients also rely on his industry knowledge for counsel regarding state motor vehicle franchise laws in all 50 states. He has also represented motor vehicle manufacturers in international arbitration, with a particular focus on disputes in the Middle East.

Colm’s representation of motor vehicle manufacturers in litigation and counseling has involved letters of intent, franchise terminations, warranty and incentive fraud, the implementation of new standard forms of dealer agreements, the introduction of new brands or distribution networks, add-points, relocations, allocation issues, post-termination matters, dealer bankruptcies and the interpretation of state franchise statutes. 

Colm has also represented automobile manufacturers in actions involving the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) allegations arising from dealership fraud, has defended putative class actions filed against motor vehicle manufacturers, and has argued numerous appeals before state and federal appellate courts.

In addition, Colm has handled general commercial litigation and arbitration in California and throughout the United States.

Representative Matters

Served as lead trial counsel in a four week federal jury trial on behalf of a motor vehicle manufacturer in which a dealer sought damages in excess of $30 million alleging violations of numerous state and federal antitrust and unfair business practice statutes. The jury awarded the dealer $1, but also awarded Colm’s client substantial damages on its counterclaims.

Prevailed in an international arbitration relating to the termination of a motor vehicle distributor in which the distributor sought more than $50 million in damages. The distributor was awarded no damages, and Colm’s client was awarded all of its attorneys’ fees. The arbitration award was later affirmed by the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Argued and won an appeal before the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals and, on referral, before the Georgia Supreme Court upholding a federal district court decision that a release obtained by a motor vehicle manufacturer from one of its dealers did not violate the anti-waiver provisions of the state motor vehicle franchise statutes.

Argued and won an appeal before the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals reversing a federal district court order granting summary judgment in favor of a motor vehicle dealer in Texas related to an incentive charge-back.

Obtained dismissal of an incentive protest before the California New Motor Vehicle Board. Colm also successfully handled and argued the appeal of that dismissal filed by the dealer.

Prevailed on a petition for judicial review before a Tennessee Chancery Court in which the court held that the Tennessee Motor Vehicle Commission does not have jurisdiction to hear motor vehicle termination disputes.

Won an appeal of an order denying summary judgment in Georgia where consumers sought to hold a manufacturer responsible for dealer misconduct.

Won denial of dealer's motion for a preliminary injunction in Colorado federal court, preventing termination.

Won summary judgment in New Jersey federal court terminating dealer based on dealer’s breach of obligation to establish exclusive showroom. The decision was later upheld by the Third Circuit Court of Appeals. 

Media Coverage

Shook Hardy Picks Up Hogan Lovells Automotive Practice Leader in LA, The American Lawyer, May 21, 2020.