Photo of Laura C. Baucus

Laura Baucus is a results-oriented litigator and business attorney with experience delivering consistent results to clients in the automotive, aerospace, manufacturing and financial services industries. Ms. Baucus has worked both as outside counsel and as seconded in-house counsel. She is the Director of Dykema’s 140+ attorney Automotive Industry Group, the immediate past Leader of the firm’s Financial Services Litigation Practice, a Leader in Dykema’s COVID-19 Task-Force, the originator of the firm’s Supply Chain Group, the Manager of a firm OEM client-service team, and the immediate past Manager of the firm’s largest Michigan office.

Ms. Baucus regularly counsels clients on force majeure and related contract performance options. Her litigation practice focuses on procurement and supply chain, recalls, warranty and cost recovery, contract termination, tooling recovery, Uniform Commercial Code issues, and financial services.  Her contract practice includes negotiating and drafting supply contracts and other commercial agreements for automotive and other manufacturing companies, including terms and conditions. Ms. Baucus also manages national portfolios of lawsuits for some of the nation’s largest residential mortgage servicers.

The overturning of the Chevron Doctrine, which required courts to defer to administrative agencies’ interpretation of ambiguous statutes, may mark the beginning of a significant change in regulatory policies affecting the automotive industry. Here are key impacts:Continue Reading Notice to Our Valued Contacts in the Automotive Industry

What constitutes a requirements contract in Michigan under the Uniform Commercial Code? Will your purchase orders be enforceable as a contract? On July 11, 2023, the Michigan Supreme Court issued an opinion in MSSC, Inc. v. Airboss Flexible Prods. Co., which adds another layer to these tricky questions.Continue Reading Clarifying Requirements Contracts and Purchase Order Enforceability in Michigan: Insights From the Michigan Supreme Court

Even in the face of considerable headwinds, dealmakers in the automotive industry have continued to stay busy. The emergence of new technologies continues to transform the M&A market, and automakers who want to stay competitive need to transform just as fast. In fact, a report from Bain & Company found that scope deals—in which firms penetrate a new market or acquire a new capability—now represent about 70% of automotive and mobility transactions over $100 million.

For an industry that’s practically built on disruption and innovation, 2023 promises to be another paradigm-shifting year in automotive. The automaker of tomorrow will do way more than simply manufacture the car you drive—it will enhance your entire in-vehicle experience. 

So what does this mean for automotive M&A in 2023? Find out when we release our 18th Annual Outlook report in November. Here’s a sneak peek at three big trends to watch out for:
Continue Reading Is the Electric Revolution Here to Stay? Here Are 3 Major Trends That Will Define Automotive M&A in 2023

In a move that could impact tens of thousands of workers and 30% of U.S. goods, there may be a freight rail stoppage starting Friday, September 14, 2022, if rail operators and unions fail to reach a deal by 12:01 a.m. ET on Friday.  Due to this potential lack of staff, as of Tuesday, September 13, some rail operators even stopped accepting certain freight (such as hazardous materials), because there may not be anyone available to manage and keep it safe.  While the media skews towards doom and gloom—predicting a massive of collapse of the supply chain—experts and commentators do expect that halted freight shipments will disrupt the already strained U.S. supply chain, including automotive and other manufacturing companies that operate on a just-in-time sole source basis.
Continue Reading The Next Big Threat to the U.S. Supply Chain Is Coming Sooner Than You Think

Last year, the automotive industry experienced successes—the upsurge of electric and autonomous vehicle development—and challenges—the global supply chain fiasco—both of which will impact legal trends.

In my recent Industry Today article, “Driving Into 2022,” I highlight the top five legal trends driving the automotive industry this year. I examine:

  • Supply Chain Disruption
  • Antitrust

The recent Tesla fire in Houston reportedly took four-plus hours to extinguish completely because of continued flareups. This highlights some of the challenges faced by auto manufacturers (and fire departments) as electric vehicles start to take over the roads, including unique issues related to lithium-ion fires.  Dykema attorneys Deron Wade, Jeff Cox and Rebekah Hudgins recently presented a litigation update addressing: “How Going All Electric May Impact the Future of Fire Litigation” (PowerPoint Slides – starting on Slide 21). The first portion of the update addressed: “A Discussion of Jury Selection and Juror Attitudes in the Post-COVID World.”
Continue Reading Hot Topics in Electric Vehicles: Battery Fires

The automotive industry is a critical component of the U.S. economy connecting a wide range of industries, from part and raw material suppliers to providers needed for the day-to-day sale and operation of vehicles. In July 2020, Dykema, MICHauto and The Right Place canvassed automotive executives, professionals and service providers to gauge their perspectives on the U.S. economy and the automotive industry and, particularly, the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Click on the links below for insights regarding how respondents feel COVID-19 affected the U.S. economy and the automotive industry.
Continue Reading Results Are In! Dykema, MICHauto and The Right Place COVID-19 Automotive Outlook Flash Survey

What Do You Do When Your Contract Does Not Contain A Force Majeure Clause?

As the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues to spread rapidly throughout the United States—and the world—commercial relationships are being thrown into disarray, resulting in the disruption of supply chains, cancellations of events, and closures of restaurants and other businesses. Several states have declared a state of emergency (including banning large group gatherings and mandating that certain business shutter for the time being). Many companies are requiring that their employees work remotely. As a result of the substantial impact on “business as usual” operations, companies are facing decisions about what to do when COVID-19 circumstances make it difficult (if not impossible) to comply with certain contractual obligations. Will COVID-19 provide your company with a legal defense excusing performance?

If you are operating under a contract governed by United States law, the first place to look for the answer is within the four corners of the contract document itself. Specifically, check your contracts to determine whether there are force majeure or other impossibility of performance-type clauses. If not, are you out of luck? The answer differs depending on the subject matter of the contract.
Continue Reading Is Your Contract Virus-Proof? [Part II]