Eric L. Chase


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Eric L. Chase
Eric L. Chase

“Over a period of several decades, American franchise law – particularly state laws governing relationships between dealers and their franchisors – has created both opportunities and challenges. Our team at Bressler has established a proven track record of successfully assisting dealers to obtain prompt and practical solutions to legal questions.”

A Principal of the firm since 1993, Eric has led Bressler’s Franchise Law practice for over 25 years of his 45 year career.  He and a team of seasoned professionals represent clients from around the country.  A skilled litigator, negotiator and advisor, Eric's focus includes all legal aspects of the automotive world.  Cases include mass and class actions, franchise termination disputes and dealer protests of relocation and establishments of new dealer points.  He continues also to represent business clients in commercial disputes outside the franchise area.

With experience, efficiency, insight and practicality, Eric has helped clients in many circumstances, including:

  • Consultation and development of strategies to avoid formal disputes
  • Advice on best practices that may cure problems before they happen (see his annually published checklist for dealers)
  • Transactional matters, including dealership buy-sells
  • Lawsuits for damages, injunctive relief and/or declaratory judgment
  • Class and mass actions
  • Administrative actions, such as a dealer protesting or defending the establishment or relocation of competitive dealerships
  • Appearances before factory dispute resolution bodies, such as the Ford Dealer Policy Board
  • Settling hundreds of disputes
  • Appeals in state and federal courts

Eric works nationwide with automotive dealer clients.  He has served on the Board of Directors of the National Association of Dealer Counsel, an organization composed mainly of attorneys who represent dealers.  He advises state associations and contributes to their efforts in the development of state industry laws that promote fairness for franchisees.  He is frequently quoted in industry publications, including Automotive News

A prolific writer, Eric's publications include dozens of articles on automotive subjects for established trade publications such as Automotive News, Auto Age, Automobile Executive, Dealers Edge, as well as other periodicals.  For more than 25 years, his annual editions of the “Top Twenty-Five Legal Trends for Automotive Dealers” have provided useful and practical commentary for the industry.  On numerous topics, his total publications now exceed 180.  His byline has appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post and Newsweek.  In addition, Eric is frequently a featured speaker at state and national conferences for dealers, CPAs and lawyers.

His in-depth knowledge extends beyond the automotive industry.  He is a former Assistant United States Attorney for the District of New Jersey and a retired Marine Corps Reserve colonel, having served in combat as an infantry officer in Vietnam.  An acknowledged authority on national security and the law of war, Eric has appeared on the nationally broadcast “Good Morning America,” “CBS Sunday Morning,” “The Charlie Rose Show” and other television and radio programs.

Spurred by a passion for learning and teaching, Eric was a guest speaker in seminars in the Politics Department at Princeton University.  For over 15 years, he taught the law of war to officers at the Marine Corps Command and Staff College, among other venues.  In 2016, he completed an online graduate program in International Security at Stanford University, achieving a 4.0 GPA., and in 2018 he attended the Harvard Kennedy School program in national and international security.

Recent Developments:

  • Eric successfully challenged an automotive franchisor in Pennsylvania from relocating a franchised dealer into his client’s AOR.  After a filing with the Pennsylvania Motor Vehicle Board, the franchisor and proposed relocating dealer conceded the issue, and withdrew their intention without a hearing.
  • On behalf of his dealer client in Pennsylvania, Eric challenged the legitimacy of an importer’s Notice of Termination.  The matter was resolved entirely in favor of the firm’s dealer client, without the necessity of an evidentiary hearing.
  • Eric was lead counsel in a Missouri case in which the dealer client protested the proposed relocation of a same-line high end dealership.  After months of preliminary litigation and discovery, the franchisor and the proposed moving dealer conceded the matter, which ended entirely favorably to the firm’s client, without the need for expensive motion practice or an evidentiary hearing.
  • Under New Jersey’s protest law, Eric filed a challenge to a domestic manufacturer’s noticed intention to establish a new dealership point close to the existing location of the client’s dealership. A few months after filing, the manufacturer withdrew its notice and the firm’s client achieved everything that would have been attainable in litigation, without the great expenditure of time and resources. Subsequently, after negotiation, the firm’s client entered into a very favorable settlement.
  • In response to a luxury manufacturer’s Notice of Termination, on behalf of a New York dealership, Eric filed a lawsuit in United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, staying the manufacturer’s intended action. The dealer had been working with a buyer to sell the dealership, and proceeded to consummate the sale. The matter was successfully resolved with minimal controversy or expense.
  • Martindale-Hubbell AV® Preeminent Rating
  • Recognized in New Jersey Super Lawyers, 2005-2007, 2009-2014, 2016-2019
  • Legion of Merit (2)
  • Purple Heart
  • Navy Commendation Medal with combat "V"
  • Combat Action Ribbon
  • Vietnamese Campaign Medal
  • Vietnam Service Medal
  • National Defense Medal