People: James C. McGrath, Partner

Photo of James C. McGrath, Partner

James C. McGrath

Partner

Boston
Direct: (617) 946-4918
0

James McGrath is a partner in the Litigation Department of Seyfarth Shaw LLP. He is an experienced trial lawyer, having tried cases, argued appeals and appeared before a variety of state and federal courts and administrative agencies throughout the United States.

Mr. McGrath’s practice focuses on litigation and counseling related to franchise and distribution matters, antitrust and trade regulation issues, and complex commercial litigation. He represents clients in a variety of industries, including motor vehicle, transportation, manufacturing, financial services, retail and energy.

In the franchise and distribution area, Mr. McGrath represents numerous manufacturers, distributors and trade organizations on a wide variety of matters, many involving the motor vehicle industry. He has handled matters involving a variety of issues, including wrongful termination, unlawful discrimination, antitrust, improper allocation, and inadequate warranty reimbursement, brought as individual, mass, and class actions.   He has obtained significant victories on issues of first impression before the Courts of Appeals for the First and Second Circuits. He also advises clients on various legislative matters affecting the motor vehicle industry.  He has been named a Best Lawyer in America in the area of Franchise Law and was selected as the “Lawyer of the Year” for Franchise Law in Boston for 2015.

Over the past several years, Mr. McGrath has represented two major financial institutions in federal tax refund litigation concerning their entitlement to foreign tax credits generated in connection with a complex, cross-border financial transaction known as STARS.  In energy-industry matters, Mr. McGrath has represented various companies in litigation, regulatory, and construction disputes.

Prior to joining Seyfarth Shaw LLP, Mr. McGrath was a partner at Bingham McCutchen in Boston, where he practiced for over twenty years.

James McGrath is a partner in the Litigation Department of Seyfarth Shaw LLP. He is an experienced trial lawyer, having tried cases, argued appeals and appeared before a variety of state and federal courts and administrative agencies throughout the United States.

Mr. McGrath’s practice focuses on litigation and counseling related to franchise and distribution matters, antitrust and trade regulation issues, and complex commercial litigation. He represents clients in a variety of industries, including motor vehicle, transportation, manufacturing, financial services, retail and energy.

In the franchise and distribution area, Mr. McGrath represents numerous manufacturers, distributors and trade organizations on a wide variety of matters, many involving the motor vehicle industry. He has handled matters involving a variety of issues, including wrongful termination, unlawful discrimination, antitrust, improper allocation, and inadequate warranty reimbursement, brought as individual, mass, and class actions.   He has obtained significant victories on issues of first impression before the Courts of Appeals for the First and Second Circuits. He also advises clients on various legislative matters affecting the motor vehicle industry.  He has been named a Best Lawyer in America in the area of Franchise Law and was selected as the “Lawyer of the Year” for Franchise Law in Boston for 2015.

Over the past several years, Mr. McGrath has represented two major financial institutions in federal tax refund litigation concerning their entitlement to foreign tax credits generated in connection with a complex, cross-border financial transaction known as STARS.  In energy-industry matters, Mr. McGrath has represented various companies in litigation, regulatory, and construction disputes.

Prior to joining Seyfarth Shaw LLP, Mr. McGrath was a partner at Bingham McCutchen in Boston, where he practiced for over twenty years.

Education

  • J.D., Boston College Law School, summa cum laude (1993)

  • B.A., University of Wisconsin (1989)

Admissions

  • Massachusetts
  • Connecticut

Courts

  • U.S. Supreme Court
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, First Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Second Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Third Circuit
  • U.S. District Court, District of Connecticut
  • U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Michigan
  • U.S. District Court, District of Massachusetts
  • U.S. District Court, Northern District of Florida

Affiliations

  • Great Boston Board of Directors - American Heart Association and American Stroke Association
  • Executive Committee, Lawyers Have Heart 5k Road Race and Summer Celebration
  • American Bar Association
  • ABA Section of Antitrust Law
  • ABA Forum on Franchising
  • Massachusetts Bar Association
  • Boston Bar Association

Representative Engagements

  • Represented industry trade association challenging the constitutionality of Florida dealer act amendments that impose greater warranty reimbursements costs on what manufacturers pay to dealers. Rejecting a motion to dismiss the challenge, the court allowed virtually all of the Alliance’s claims to survive, including the Commerce Clause, Contracts Clause and Due Process Clause claims.
  • Served as regional counsel in multiple dealer arbitrations brought pursuant to a special federal statute passed following GM’s bankruptcy which allowed the terminated dealers to seek reinstatement.
  • Obtained affirmance by the Second Circuit of summary judgment on behalf of General Motors in a test case in which the dealer sought to recover additional statutory reimbursement under New York law in connection with warranty reimbursement claims accepted at the manufacturer’s standard rates over the previous decade.
  • Obtained reversal by the Second Circuit of district court’s denial of motion to compel arbitration of a dispute arising under an investment relationship between a motor vehicle manufacturer and an individual operator.
  • Secured verdict in favor of a motor vehicle manufacturer from the District of Maine which was affirmed by First Circuit in suit concerning the parties’ rights and obligations under Maine warranty reimbursement law.
  • Obtained affirmance by the First Circuit of judgment dismissing claims brought by a motor vehicle dealer asserting that a motor vehicle manufacturer had illegally operated a company store in violation of Massachusetts law.
  • Represented a major construction contractor in a dispute in New York in which client sought to recover almost $20 million from the project owner; also successfully defended a related action in the Western District of New York brought by one of the client’s subcontractors, obtaining summary judgment.
  • Represented a major competitive energy supplier in defending significant claims brought by a wholesale electricity customer and prosecuting third-party claims against an affiliated distribution company.
  • Obtained verdict in favor of a heavy duty truck manufacturer in Massachusetts state court on claim of price discrimination based on fleet sales to leasing company.
  • Obtained a directed verdict on behalf of General Motors in federal court in Rhode Island in a suit brought by one of its dealers alleging unlawful encroachment on its market area.
  • Obtained summary judgment on behalf of Volvo in federal court in New Hampshire, which was affirmed by First Circuit, in a suit brought by a former dealer for wrongful termination, challenging the manufacturer’s use of customer satisfaction scores to award incentive payments.
  • Represented an automobile manufacturer against a dealer who had defrauded the company. After several days of trial in federal district court in St. Louis, the case was settled on terms favorable to the client, including a substantial cash payment.
  • Represented a candy confectioner in dispute concerning the infringement of its trademarks by a music group.

Presentations

  • "Bumper-to-Bumper Coverage: Highlighting Significant Motor Vehicle Franchise Decisions and Developments in 2016," Webinar, presented by Seyfarth Shaw LLP (December 15, 2016)
  • Speaker, "Sales Effectiveness - Application in Decision-Making, Benefits, and Pitfalls, National Association of Motor Vehicle Boards and Commissions," 2016 Fall Workshop, Denver, Colorado
  • Panelist, "Global Automakers Franchise Law Symposium," Cherry Hill, New Jersey (2015)
  • “Bumper-to-Bumper Coverage: Highlighting Significant Motor Vehicle Franchise Decisions from 2015,” Seyfarth Shaw Webinar (December 10, 2015)
  • “Addressing Joint Employer Issues in the Franchise Industry,” Seyfarth Shaw Webinar (October 20, 2015)

Publications

  • Co-Author, “Tesla Takes on Michigan,” One Minute Memo, Seyfarth Shaw LLP (October 26, 2016)
  • Co-Author, “The Supreme Court Rejects Claims For Constructive Termination and Constructive Nonrenewal Under the PMPA Where Service Station Franchisees Continued to Operate,” ABA Section of Antitrust Law - Distribution & Franchising Committee (April 2010 Vol. 13, No. 3)
  • “When Do Service Station Franchisees Run Out Of Gas: The Supreme Court Considers Whether the PMPA Permits Claims for Constructive Termination and Constructive Non-Renewal,” Distribution, Distribution and Franchising Committee, ABA Section of Antitrust Law (December 2009)
  • Co-Author, “Rest Easy: The Third Circuit Decertifies A Robinson-Patman Act Class,” ABA Section of Antitrust Law, The Price Point Newsletter (Fall 2008)
  • “The Third Circuit Defines Contours of Antitrust Law Following Leegin,” Competition Law 360 (July 2, 2008)
  • “Class Certification Under the Robinson-Patman Act: Is This Sleepy Corner of Antitrust Law in for a Wake-Up Call?,” ABA Newsletter, Antitrust Law Section (Spring 2008)
  • “The Second Circuit Limits the ADDCA’s Restrictions on the Enforcement of Arbitration Agreements Between Motor Vehicle Manufacturers and Dealers,” Distribution Newsletter, ABA Section of Antitrust Law (March 2007)

Accolades

  • Best Lawyers, Franchise Law Lawyer of the Year, Boston (2015)
  • Best Lawyers, Franchise Law (2010–2015)