Jeffrey White

Jeffrey White

I am a partner at Robinson+Cole who handles corporate compliance and litigation matters for both domestic and international manufacturers and distributors that make and ship products around the world. My clients have ranged from publicly traded Fortune 500 companies to privately held and/or family owned manufacturers. For those looking for my detailed law firm bio, click here.

I am often asked why I have focused a large part of my law practice on counseling manufacturers and distributors. As with most things in life, the answer to that question is tied back to experiences I had well before I became a lawyer. My grandfather spent over 30 years working at a steel mill (Detroit Steel Company), including several years in its maintenance department. One of my grandfather’s prime job duties was to make sure that the equipment being used was safe. In his later years, he would apply those lessons learned in every project we did together as he passed on to me his great respect and pride for the manufacturing industry.

Because of these experiences, I not only feel comfortable advising executives in a boardroom, but also can easily transition to the factory floor. My experience has involved a range of industries, including aerospace and defense, chemicals, energy, pharmaceuticals and life sciences, nutritional and dietary supplements, and retail and consumer products. While I have extensive experience in litigation (including product liability and class actions), I am extremely proactive about trying to keep my clients out of the courtroom if at all possible. Specifically, I have counseled manufacturers and distributors on issues such as product labeling and warranties, product recalls, workplace safety/OSHA, anti-trust, and vendor relations, among other things. I always look for the business-friendly solution to a problem that may face a manufacturer or distributor and I hope this blog will help advance those efforts.

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Key Considerations For Foreign Manufacturers That Wish To Sell Products In The United States

Last week, I had the privilege of speaking at the American Bar Association’s Business Law Section Annual Meeting in Boston.  The title of my presentation was:  “Key Considerations for Foreign Manufacturers That Wish to Sell Products to the United States” which was presented at the meeting of the International Expansion and Cross-Border Transactions Subcommittee. Here are … Continue Reading

How These Contract Provisions Can Reduce A Manufacturer’s Margins

One of the key aspects of any supply chain contract is the section regarding pricing.  Nothing is more important in a business deal than determining how much one manufacturer might pay another in a B2B transaction. In situations where one party has more leverage, that party often includes pricing language that can really impact the … Continue Reading

How The Failure To Comply With The Conflict Minerals Law Can Expose Manufacturers To Criminal Penalties

Last year, we provided an overview regarding the requirement that U.S. publicly traded companies disclose their use of “conflict minerals.”  As of 2014, the Government Accounting Office reported that 1,321 companies filed the requisite disclosure.  The GAO anticipated that over 6,000 companies could be affected by the rule.  That discrepancy can be explained either by: … Continue Reading

Your Customer Just Declared Bankruptcy: Recent Decision That All Suppliers/Vendors Should Be Aware Of

This week, we thank members of Robinson+Cole’s Business Reorganizations and Bankruptcy Group (Patrick Birney, Steve Boyajian and Mike Enright) for this post: Suppliers and vendors sometimes find themselves unpleasantly surprised by the bankruptcy of a customer, leaving a trail of unpaid invoices and little hope of recovery. To make matters worse, after licking their wounds … Continue Reading

How Passage of Trade Secrets Act Will Help Manufacturers: An Update

Last month, we posted about the United States Senate’s passage of the Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2016.  Breaking news:  It passed.  Thanks to members of our Labor & Employment (Ian Clarke-Fisher) and Intellectual Property Litigation groups (Jim Nault) for this guest post. On May 11, 2016, President Barack Obama signed the Defend Trade Secrets … Continue Reading

How Passage of Trade Secrets Act Will Help Manufacturers

We welcome a guest post this week from Nuala Droney and James Nault, who are members of Robinson + Cole’s Intellectual Property Litigation Practice Team. This week, the United States Senate passed the Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2016, which, if passed by the House and signed into law by President Obama, would give trade … Continue Reading

Considerations For Manufacturers/Distributors Who Are Negotiating Contracts Without Any Leverage

Negotiating contracts in the supply chain are certainly challenging.  As a lawyer, there is a temptation to want to change every term that is not to your liking.  And, for that reason, a lot of lawyers will receive a contract to review from their client and immediately red-line every provision.  Now, if your client is … Continue Reading

Legal Issues for Manufacturers To Consider When Selling Into New Markets

Manufacturers continue to look for ways to increase sales revenue without a massive infusion of capital.  Many companies have been successful in adapting current products for new uses and markets.  For instance, a company that makes aerospace components might use certain core competencies to develop products that can be sold in other markets without investing … Continue Reading

5 Things Manufacturers Should Be Watching In 2016 In The Areas of Corporate Compliance / Litigation

This is the first in a series of posts that provide industry and legal outlooks for manufacturers as we head into 2016.  I will start with corporate compliance and litigation.  Matt will follow with labor/employment.  And, Megan will conclude the series with Environmental Health & Safety (EH&S). Here are 5 things (of many) that I … Continue Reading

Why The Recent Indictments of Nutritional Supplement Executives Matter To All Manufacturers/Distributors

Our firm has substantial experience in representing nutritional supplement manufacturers.  For that reason, the news that the Justice Department and federal agencies (such as the FTC) is engaged in a nationwide sweep of such companies is newsworthy.  This sweep has consisted of both criminal and civil/regulatory actions that will take years to unravel. Other manufacturers/distributors might … Continue Reading

Three Issues That Manufacturers/Distributors Should Consider When Drafting Terms and Conditions (T&Cs)

Over the last few years, our team has worked with several manufacturers and distributors on their terms and conditions of sale and/or purchase.  We have even developed a questionaire that we typically use when we speak to a client for the first time. Readers of this blog may recall posts regarding indemnification clauses, anti-assignment clauses, non-compete … Continue Reading

The Hidden Assassin: How This Contractual Provision Can Derail A Manufacturer’s Acquisition Plans

An”anti-assignment” clause can be the death knell of any deal involving the sale or purchase of a manufacturing company.  You might ask:  what is an anti-assignment clause?  Here is the typical language that is often buried at the end of many types of contracts, including those with your suppliers and customers: Seller shall not assign … Continue Reading

Department Of Justice (DOJ) Prioritizes Prosecutions Of Food Companies

The post below is a follow-up to an earlier post written by my colleagues, Edward Heath and Kate Dion. Edward is my partner and is Chair of Robinson + Cole’s White-Collar Defense and Corporate Compliance Practice. Kate is a litigation associate who routinely handles government and internal investigations for manufacturing clients. In the wake of … Continue Reading

More Federal Money for Manufacturers

As reported by Industry Week, the U.S. Secretary of Commerce recently announced that 12 additional communities will receive designations under the Obama Administration’s Investing in Manufacturing Communities Partnership (IMCP) initiative.  According to Industry Week: The 12 designated Manufacturing Communities will receive coordinated support for their strategies from the following eleven federal agencies with more than $1 billion available … Continue Reading

Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Continues To Focus On Manufacturers’ Warranties

As readers of the blog know, we have written previously about the importance of periodically reviewing warranty language to avoid scrutiny from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).   This week, the FTC blog published another article entitled “The latest word of warranties.” In the post, the FTC offered the following guidance: If your business offers warranties, here are … Continue Reading

Avoiding a Rocky Road: Lessons For Manufacturers From Blue Bell Creameries’ Listeria Investigation

The post below was written by my colleagues, Edward Heath and Kate Dion.  Edward is my partner and is Chair of Robinson + Cole’s White-Collar Defense and Corporate Compliance Practice.  Kate is a litigation associate who routinely handles government and internal investigations for manufacturing clients. Ice cream maker Blue Bell Creameries has found itself in a sticky situation that … Continue Reading

The Manufacturing Law Blog Welcomes New Authors

It is my pleasure to announce that the Manufacturing Law Blog will have two new authors going forward.  With the departure of our friend and colleague, Pam Elkow, Matt and I have asked Megan Baroni and Earl Phillips to join our team.  Both Megan and Earl are members of our firm’s Environmental + Utilities Group, … Continue Reading

Another Mandate for Manufacturers/Distributors: Conflict Minerals Disclosure

In 2010, the U.S. Congress passed a law called the “Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Action of 2010 (the Dodd-Frank Act).” The Dodd-Frank Act is generally known as the legislative response to the financial crisis that existed from 2007-2010 and it included widespread changes to the regulation of financial institutions. So you might … Continue Reading

How Will The Commercial Use of Drones Impact Manufacturers/Distributors?

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has issued a series of proposals for the use and regulation of drones (i.e., Unmanned Aircrafy Systems (UAS)) for commercial purposes.  In conjuction with these proposals, the White House released a memorandum that attempts to ensure the privacy of data obtained by drones.  Note that it may take 2-3 years for these proposals to become final … Continue Reading

Five 2015 Corporate Compliance / Litigation Issues Manufacturers Need To Keep An Eye On

It is our annual tradition at the beginning of each year to report on significant issues that face manufacturers/distributors in the year ahead.  Two weeks ago, Matt reported on significant issues in the labor/employment arena.  Last week, Pam reported on Environmental, Health and Safefy (EH&S) issues.  To round out the series, I’ll be writing about … Continue Reading

Data Privacy: A Bill in Congress Every Manufacturer Should Be Aware of

One of the issues that manufacturers/distributors are paying more attention to is their document retention policies.  Things get complicated, however, when a corporation has operations outside of the United States.  It is not uncommon, for instance, for a manufacturer/distributor to store information on a computer server that is housed outside of the United States. Records … Continue Reading

Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Settles Complaint Against Patent Troll That Manufacturers Should Be Aware Of

Earlier this year, I wrote about efforts to reform the patent system to curtail abuses by “patent trolls.”  Patent trolls do not manufacture anything.  Rather, they often buy up patents and then bring lawsuits against businesses seeking to extract licensing fees.  Last week, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) reported on its blog that it had settled a … Continue Reading
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