Vanessa L. Miller

Partner

Overview

Vanessa L. Miller is a litigation partner with Foley & Lardner LLP and chair of the Detroit office’s Litigation Department. Vanessa’s practice focuses on general manufacturing breach of contract and warranty disputes, automotive supply chain disputes, product liability lawsuits, trade secret claims, and business torts. Vanessa defends consumer class actions involving claims of breach of contract, breach of warranty, claims under the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, fraud and fraudulent concealment, fraudulent inducement, negligence, unjust enrichment, and violations of various state Unfair and Deceptive Acts and Practices statutes, and consumer protection laws. Vanessa also routinely counsels clients on various commercial contract documents and supply chain issues. She is a member of the firm’s Business Litigation & Dispute Resolution Practice, Automotive Industry Team, and Manufacturing Industry Team.

Vanessa has successfully managed, litigated and tried cases in state and federal courts, as well as handled appellate proceedings. She has significant experience handling complex international arbitrations in various venues, including the Court of Arbitration of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), American Arbitration Association (AAA), JAMS and the Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC). Vanessa also has represented clients in commercial mediations, which have resulted in the early resolution of legal disputes.

Prior to joining Foley, Vanessa was a law clerk to the Honorable Patrick J. Duggan, United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan.

Representative Experience

  • Routinely involved in obtaining or defending against temporary restraining orders and preliminary injunctions for automotive clients, appliance manufacturers and rail clients (over 20 cases)
  • Obtaining injunctions and money judgments for infringement of energy supplement manufacturer’s trademarks and trade dress
  • Defending against consumer class action lawsuits, including the high-profile Jeep cyber-hacking lawsuit
  • Arbitrating complex breach of contract claim and misappropriation of trade secrets claim against Korean supplier before the Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC), resulting in award of millions of dollars in damages and future royalties
  • Arbitrating massive warranty claim against Japanese supplier and leading international discovery that involved over 150 employees across three continents
  • Prevailing on motion for summary judgment and obtaining dismissal of tens of millions of dollars in breach of warranty claims brought by OEM for allegedly defective parts supplied by Tier 1 supplier
  • Prevailing on motion for summary judgment and winning appeal on novel issues of law in six million dollar consignee liability and breach of contract claim brought against supplier by shipping company
  • Obtaining summary judgment and award of costs for engine manufacturer in breach of warranty dispute; handling appeal before the Sixth Circuit, which affirmed the dismissal and award of costs
  • Managing international electronic discovery and translation efforts in large-scale complex litigations and arbitrations involving over one million documents

Education

Vanessa earned her law degree, summa cum laude, from the University of Denver College of Law (J.D., 2004), where she was elected to the Order of St. Ives and served as general editor for the University of Denver Law Review and training editor for the Journal of International Law. She received her undergraduate degree from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor with distinction (B.A., 2001).

Admissions and Professional Memberships

Vanessa is admitted to practice in the state and federal courts in Michigan and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. She is also an active member of the Federal Bar Association.

Recognition

  • Named “Top Women Attorneys” in Michigan by Super Lawyers in 2019
  • Awarded the Detroit Metropolitan Bar Association Barristers “One to Watch” Award 2011-2012
  • Selected for inclusion in the Michigan Super Lawyers® – Rising Stars lists in 2013 and 2014
  • Received the 2014 Michigan Lawyers Weekly Woman in the Law Award

Select Publications and Presentations

  • “Recall and Warranty Claims: Strategies for Mitigating Risk in Commercial Contracting,” Michigan Association of Corporate Counsel, November 2016
  • “The Pros and Cons of Arbitration,” Michigan Association of Corporate Counsel, November 2015
  • Co-presenter, “Best Practices in Drafting U.S. Government Subcontract Terms and Conditions,” June 2015 and October 2014
  • Co-author, “Force Majeure Clauses: An ‘Out’ for Suppliers Facing Shortages and Supply Chain Disruptions from West Coast Labor Dispute,” Foley Dashboard Insights, February 2015
  • Co-author, “Disputes in the Manufacturing Supply Chain,” Michigan Bar Journal, October 2014
  • Co-author, “Tug-of-War: Attorney Client Privilege Vs. Deposition,” Law360, October 2014
  • “10 Tips to Effectively Manage E-Discovery Projects,” Michigan Association of Corporate Counsel, September 2014
  • Co-author, “How Auto Suppliers Can Prepare For Recalls,” Law360, May 2014
  • Co-author, “Auto Suppliers Prepare for Barrage of Recalls,” Foley Dashboard Insights, April 2014
  • Co-author, “Litigating a Contract Dispute” Chapter, Michigan Contract Law, Second Edition, ICLE ©2013
  • “State of the Law Update: Contract and Commercial Transactions Law,” Michigan Association of Corporate Counsel, April 2012 and April 2013
  • "Distribution and Franchise Successor Liability Examined," Detroit Legal News, June 2012

Representative Matters

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Represented a Tier 1 automotive supplier when General Motors (GM) recalled 1.3 million compact cars to replace a motor in the power steering system due to a loss of power assist. Our client supplied the column type electric power steering system used in the vehicles and contested whether the electric power steering system failed to meet GM's specifications, whether the recall was prudent and necessary, and other issues. Foley served as lead counsel for the supplier in defending GM's claims for all losses and damages proximately caused by the recall. The matter will be submitted to binding arbitration by agreement of the parties, to take place in Detroit.