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 Connecticut 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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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

Key Provisions In Contracts For Goods/Services

Last week, I had the pleasure of attending our law firm’s 6th Annual Environmental & Energy Issues Summit in Newport, Rhode Island.  Robinson+Cole’s Environmental and Energy Issues Summit brings industry leaders together to discuss topics and regulatory updates relevant to environmental and energy professionals.  This year’s program included subjects such as “Plant Closures, Temporary Employees, … Continue Reading

Dealing With Shipping Companies: A Consistent Challenge for Manufacturers/Distributors

One of the most important things for a manufacturer/distributor is ensuring that its products are shipped in a reliable fashion so they arrive on time and in good condition.  Similarly, manufacturers rely heavily on shipping companies to deliver the raw materials that are used in the production process.  If shipping companies fail to deliver on … Continue Reading

Why Manufacturers Should Look At The Federal Trade Commission (FTC)’s Website

As readers of this blog know, Pam looks at OSHA’s website often to stay up to date on news that impacts manufacturers.  I tend to look at the Federal Trade Commission (FTC)’s website to see if there are any recent orders or news items that impact manufacturers or distributors from a corporate compliance perspective.  The FTC tends … Continue Reading

The Liability Risks of Temporary Employees

Last week, Pam addressed the issue of temporary workers from an EHS perspective.  Now, in this installment of one of our “360” posts, I’ll comment on the liability risks of having temporary employees. First, an introductory note.  I understand from my conversations with manufacturing executives that many companies need to use staffing agencies in order to locate skilled workers.  In most cases, companies … Continue Reading

Two Provisions In Commercial Contracts That Every Manufacturer/Distributor Should Review

There are two provisions in nearly every commerical contract that I tend to be asked about more than others.  These provisions are:  (1) indemnification clauses; and (2) “forum selection” clauses.  Most manufacturers and distributors are familiar with the first.  Not as many are familiar with the second. Fundamentally, an indemnification clause is typically designed to provide … Continue Reading

Nominating The Manufacturing Law Blog For Recognition In the ABA’s “Annual Blawg 100”

Each year, the American Bar Association (ABA)’s Journal releases its “Annual Blawg 100,” which is a listing of the best legal blogs in the country.  In order to be selected, the ABA Journal asks that readers nominate blogs that they read regularly and that they believe other lawyers should know about.  Pam, Nicole and I would … Continue Reading

The Importance of Having A Document Retention Policy

Last week, I had the privilege of speaking at ACI’s 2nd Annual Consumer Products Regulation & Litigation Conference in Chicago.  During the conference, I moderated a panel of in-house attorneys that worked at General Electric, Williams-Sonoma, Deere & Co., and Nordstrom.  One of the issues that always comes up at conferences involving litigation is “e-discovery.”  For … Continue Reading

2014 Connecticut Business & Industry Association (CBIA) Manufacturing Summit

The Connecticut Business & Industry Association (CBIA) is holding its annual Manufacturing Summit on Friday, May 30 in Cromwell, Connecticut.  Our firm is proud to be a sponsor of the event, which will include discussion on topics such as:  (1) the aerospace industry in Connecticut; (2) the 2014 Connecticut Manufacturing Workforce Survey; and (3) tax issues and implications for manufacturers.  … Continue Reading
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