Sara Decatur Judge

Partner | Co-Chair, Automotive

overview

Sara Decatur Judge is a business litigation attorney who helps her clients solve problems. She represents businesses and individuals in a variety of industries including the automotive, distributing, and franchise industries. Sara has extensive experience representing clients in a wide range of commercial matters in federal, state and appellate courts. She has handled a variety of commercial disputes, including breach of contract, franchise terminations, product liability, unfair competition, unfair and deceptive trade practices, real estate disputes, wage and hour disputes, and insurance coverage disputes. 

A significant portion of Sara’s practice is devoted to representing motor vehicle dealers in trade regulatory matters throughout Massachusetts and New England. Her dealer clients rely on her for sound advice and counsel with respect to franchise matters, including dealer appointments, dealer protests, dealer relocations, dealer buy/sell agreements, and dealership terminations. Sara also assists dealers with advertising compliance, consumer disputes and programs mandated by the manufacturer, such as mandatory facilities upgrade and image programs. She helps dealers understand their rights under Chapter 93B, which is the dealer protection statute in Massachusetts.

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education

J.D., Wake Forest University School of Law, 2001

B.A., cum laude, University of Massachusetts Amherst, 1998

admissions

Massachusetts

New Jersey

New York

U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts

U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey

U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York

U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York

U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit

U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit

experience

Representative Engagements:

  • Successfully litigated and obtain judgment in favor of client which allowed client to exercise a right of first refusal to purchase an interest in real property;
  • Won a favorable judgment after multi-day trial defending dealer client’s right to use an easement to unload car carriers;  decision upheld on appeal.
  • Obtained dismissal of a consumer class action lawsuit on behalf of a restaurant client;
  • Obtained dismissal of a consumer class action lawsuit on behalf of a transportation industry client;
  • Successfully represented motor vehicle dealership group in defending against manufacturer termination;
  • Forced manufacturer to allow motor vehicle dealership to relocate despite prior refusal from manufacturer;
  • Successfully negotiated favorable settlement for dealer client in an add point dispute;
  • Negotiated favorable settlement for dealer client in a warranty reimbursement dispute;

Select Reported Cases:

Goodwill Enterprises, Inc. v. Kavanagh, 95 Mass. App. Ct. 856 (2019) (client obtained specific performance of a right of first refusal over leased premises).

In re Corbett, No. 11-13667-JNF, 2018 WL 1229717 (Bankr. D. Mass. Mar. 8, 2018) (enforcing client’s right of first refusal)

In re Corbett, No. 11-13667-JNF, 2018 WL 832885 (Bankr. D. Mass. Feb. 12, 2018) (enforcing client’s right of first refusal)

Leder v. Am. Traffic Sols., Inc., 81 F. Supp. 3d 211 (E.D.N.Y.), aff’d, 630 F. App’x 61 (2d Cir. 2015) (successful dismissal of class action litigation)

Anarpet Realty Corp. v. Stutz Motor Car Co., 88 Mass. App. Ct. 1110 (2015) (defended client’s right to use easement).

Anarpet Realty Corp. v. Licensing Bd. of Salem, 85 Mass. App. Ct. 1109, 5 N.E.3d 3 (2014) (successfully defended the issuance of a Class 1 dealer license to client after challenge by unhappy neighbor).

memberships

National Association of Dealer Counsel

articles

articles

“Does Your Dealership Need a Privacy Checkup?”  Massachusetts Auto Dealer Magazine, April 2021.

“When the AG’s Office Knocks at the Dealer’s Door,” Massachusetts Auto Dealer Magazine, September 2018

“Contract Challenges with Selling ‘Dualed’ Auto Dealerships,” Automotive Law360, June 2017

“Why ‘Side Agreements’ with Your Customers Are a Bad Idea,” Texas Dealer Magazine, May 2016

“Protecting Honda and Acura Dealers During the Airbag Recall Campaign,” Massachusetts Auto Dealer Magazine, February 2016

“Running Credit Reports: How to Keep Your Dealership Out of Trouble,” Massachusetts Auto Dealer Magazine, April 2015

“GM Facilities Upgrade Mandate,” Burns & Levinson Automotive Dealer Bulletin, March 2011

features

“People Moves of the Week,” Mergers & Acquisitions Magazine, March 2014

quotes

“Governor Proposes ‘Fix’ for Commission-Only Employees,” Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly, October 2019

“Expert Unnecessary to Support Lemon Law Claim,” Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly, August 2019

“Bankruptcy Sale of Nominee Trust Interest Triggers Right of First Refusal,” Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly, November 2017

“Lack Of Defect Claim No Pass For Automakers: Mass. Court,” Law360, June 2014

speaking engagements

“Dealership Data Security: OEM Agreements & MA State Law Compliance,” Webinar Host, Burns & Levinson, June 2021

“Top 10 Legal Issues Impacting Dealers in 2021,” Webinar Presenter, National Alliance of Auto Dealer Advisors Conference, June 2021

“Top 10 Legal Issues Impacting Dealers,” Presenter, National Alliance of Auto Dealer Advisors Conference, Boston, MA, May 2019

“Trademarks, Trade Dress and Licensing Issues for Dealers,” Speaker, National Association of Dealer Counsel 2015 Member Conference, April 2015