Trent M. Johnson is a litigator, business counselor, trial lawyer and co-chair of the firm’s Distribution & Franchise Practice. Trent focuses primarily on distribution and franchise litigation and counseling, which includes counseling on related antitrust issues. Trent also has substantial experience in general commercial and complex litigation.
Trent has concentrated on product distribution law since the beginning of his career at Foley, and now devotes the vast majority of his practice to counseling manufacturers on many of the key facets of their resale relationships.
Trent routinely advises his clients – from Fortune 100 companies to smaller private organizations – on issues involving channel structure (including multi-channel networks), drafting key contractual provisions, state and federal antitrust law compliance, contract administration and enforcement, e-commerce issues, distributor and dealer performance, negotiating relationship modifications (both individual and system-wide), transfers of control, product or territory withdrawals, product pricing, discount and rebate programs, product repurchase disputes, and other issues.
To the extent clients need to disengage entirely from a distributor, Trent has substantial experience litigating and trying distributor terminations (including “bet-the-network” terminations) in state and federal court, and in arbitration.
Trent received his law degree (J.D., cum laude, 2004) from the University of Wisconsin Law School. During law school, he served as an extern to District Judge Barbara Crabb, chief judge of the United States District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin. He graduated from Miami University in 1998 with a bachelor’s degree in philosophy, Spanish and psychology.
Representative Matters :
- Foley secured a major victory for Goulds Pumps, Inc., a manufacturer of industrial pumps, and flagship subsidiary of ITT Corporation. Over the last decade, Goulds Pumps has become one of the leading industrial pump manufacturers for the North American oil and gas market, due in large part to its state-of-the-art API (American Petroleum Institute) pumps.
- In December 2013, Goulds Pumps’ biggest distributor, DXP Enterprises, Inc., announced its plan to acquire B27, LLC. However, PumpWorks 610, a division of B27, also manufactures API pumps, selling them in the same territory as that granted to DXP under the parties’ distribution agreement.
- Despite being warned by Goulds Pumps not to acquire B27 DXP completed the purchase in January 2014, prompting Goulds Pumps to file an arbitration demand in April 2014, seeking a declaratory judgment that it had the right to terminate DXP as a distributor.
- After DXP’s failed TRO attempts in both state and federal court in Texas, arbitration began in earnest in September 2014. A year later, and after a seven-day hearing with testimony from 12 witnesses and rounds of post-hearing briefings, the arbitrator held that, under the Texas Dealer Act, Goulds Pumps did indeed have good cause to terminate DXP.
- Defense of a national bank in a high profile antitrust lawsuit brought by American Express against Visa, Mastercard and several Visa/Mastercard member banks.
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