Leonard Bellavia, Esq. on CBT Automotive Network

How Car Dealers Can Structure Their Buy/Sell Deals for Maximum Success — Len Bellavia, Esq.

We know there are plenty of dealership buyers right now, and as we are all aware, it is a seller’s market. Brokers are constantly making inquiries and telling car dealers that they will never be able to get a better price than they can get right now. Today on Inside Automotive, we’re pleased to welcome back Len Bellavia, Esq., Founding Partner of the law firm of Bellavia Blatt PC, also known as DealerLaw.com, who has handled hundreds of dealership buy-sells. Bellavia joins us to share his creative ways of dealing with this topic, which has been on the minds of many dealers lately. Many dealership buyers in the market are private equity groups, family offices, and public companies with bottomless pockets. Every time one of these organizations buys a dealer group, they have to staff it. But with the current staffing challenges, it isn’t easy to find qualified operators. Sellers don’t always stay on after the transaction to consult. In fact, Bellavia believes the buy/sell market is at a “crossroads” because it’s tougher to convince sellers that the value of their dealerships is not the same as it was a year or two ago. There’s a “widening gap” between what buyers are willing to pay and what sellers expect. If you compound that problem with current economic conditions and OEM news, buyers are doing more sophisticated analyses of potential transactions. On the flip side, sellers are experiencing record profitability, and they are tempted to stay on the fence. However, sellers need to have a succession plan in place, says Bellavia. Because blue sky values are so high, qualified general managers are largely getting priced out of the market. They are no longer able to come to the table because dealer principals are paying closer attention to the “big money players.” But if the dealer principal isn’t quite ready to leave the business, the best course of action is to cultivate a young, talented manager and allow them to buy a piece of the dealership. 

IADA Exclusively Endorses Bellavia Blatt, P.C. as Provider of Retail Warranty Reimbursement Services

Bellavia Blatt, P.C. is pleased to announce that we have been selected by the IADA as the Association’s exclusively endorsed provider of Retail Warranty Reimbursement services. Bellavia Blatt is widely recognized as the pioneer and expert in retail warranty reimbursement submissions and has represented thousands of dealers in obtaining retail rates for warranty parts and labor.

Bellavia Blatt consists of a team of dedicated legal staff and dealership fixed operations specialists who solely focus on these matters. We also provide all clients, at no additional cost, various fixed operations consulting services as it relates to retail warranty pricing issues. Our solution is turnkey. Bellavia Blatt’s staff does all of the work behind the scenes so your manufacturer will not know that you retained us. Simply stated, Bellavia Blatt’s retail warranty reimbursement services are “best in class”, the most cost-effective and provide the greatest value in the industry.

The new warranty reimbursement provisions in the Illinois Motor Vehicle Franchise Act enable dealers to significantly increase their warranty compensation for parts and labor. These provisions went into effect on January 1st, 2022, and it is in your dealership’s best interest to start the submission process immediately.

For more information, please contact Managing Attorney, Keith Gitman at (516) 873-3000 or via email at info@dealerlaw.com. Bellavia Blatt looks forward to assisting your dealership receive the highest warranty reimbursement compensation at retail rates.

Leonard Bellavia Has Been Selected to be the Recipient of the Long Island Business News 2020 Leadership in Law Award

Leonard A. Bellavia

Leonard Bellavia Has Been Selected to be the Recipient of the Long Island Business News 2020 Leadership in Law Award

Bellavia Blatt Founder and Managing Partner, Leonard Bellavia Esq., has been selected to be the recipient of the Long Island Business News ‘Leadership in Law’ award. Jenna Natale of Long Island Business News stated: “The Leadership in Law Awards is dedicated to those whose leadership, both in the legal profession and in the community, has had a positive impact on Long Island. Honorees demonstrate outstanding achievements, excellence in professionalism, and support of the Long Island community.”

With over 33 years of experience, Leonard Bellavia is a nationally recognized authority in the field of automotive franchise law. Leonard represents thousands of automobile dealerships across the country in all aspects of commercial litigation and buy-sell transactions and has been instrumental in negotiating the sales of hundreds of dealerships. He has achieved national recognition for advocating the mass action litigation model on behalf of franchised automobile dealers.

Leonard has also been actively involved in giving back to the community through various charitable endeavors. He has been recognized for his leadership and humanitarian work not only by his colleagues but also the community. He has had the honor of being the recipient of the Annual Harry Chapin Humanitarian Award for providing free legal work to indigent Long Islanders and has also spearheaded two charitable foundations; both of which are very personal to him. “Lawyers v. Cancer” and “Dealers v. Cancer” which are nationwide charitable organization that raise funds for the Prostate Cancer Foundation (PCF). This national fundraising initiative is centered around an annual classic car show produced by Leonard entitled “Cruisin’ For The Cure”.

The first show, held in 2017 at Windham Mountain in upstate New York, featured about 300 classic and 50 new exotic cars. They were so successful, the PCF invited him to an event where he met a Nobel Prize-winning scientist who pioneered immunotherapy, funded in part by his show’s earnings. Leonard has led philanthropic movements within the Long Island community, as well as nationwide, and his efforts and leadership initiatives are commendable.

The Long Island Business News ‘Leadership in Law’ 2020 Virtual Awards Program will take place November 19, 2020 at 10:30am EST.

Understanding “Choice of Law” Contract Provisions


January 23rd, 2015

by Leonard A. Bellavia, Esq.

Many contracts that a business will enter into will address choice of law, jurisdiction and venue.  Surprisingly, many companies often ignore these provisions when negotiating the terms of the contract.  Vendors often draft these provisions to make it extremely difficult for the business to prevail in litigation should disputes arise.  Businesses that acquiesce to the vendor’s wishes pertaining to choice of law, jurisdiction and venue do so at their own risk.

A court deciding a case between parties residing in different states must determine which state’s law applies.  This determination is often referred to as “choice of law.”  Typically, if the contract does not address choice of law, the court will use the law of the state in which the transaction was consummated or where a substantial portion of the subject matter of the agreement shall occur.  However, if the contract stipulates which state’s laws govern disputes, courts will adhere to these provisions.   Interestingly, parties to a contract that reside within the same state can instruct courts to apply the law of a different state to govern disputes.

A similar analysis applies to venue and jurisdiction questions, which address which court is appropriate for either party to bring suit.  Again, if the contract is silent on the appropriate venue and jurisdiction, the location of the defendant and where the transaction takes place is generally determinative.  But, if the contract stipulates a particular venue and jurisdiction the parties must use for litigation, courts will compel parties to adhere to these provisions.

Here is an example of how these provisions work.  Suppose a Californian company contracts with a New York company, and the contract states that California law controls the agreement (choice of law) and either party must litigate any disputes in a particular California court (jurisdiction and venue).  If a dispute arises, the Californian business can file suit in California, forcing the New York business to seek local counsel in California.  Also, the New York business may not be as familiar with Californian law as New York law.  Without understanding applicable differences, the New York business may learn that California law resolves the dispute in unexpected ways.  If the New York business wishes to file suit against the Californian vendor, the business would have to do so in courts thousands of miles away from his home state.  Clearly, such limitations put the New York business at a distinct disadvantage and may ultimately discourage the business from pursing his rights.

Choice of law, venue and jurisdiction provisions are often negotiable, just like any other provision of a contract.  Vendors often try to ‘slip’ these provisions by unwary businesses.  A vendor who conducts business in your state should have to comply with your state’s laws and commence or respond to litigation in courts of your state.  If a vendor refuses to negotiate these terms and instead seeks to bind your business to laws and courts of another state, you should evaluate whether the relationship contemplated by the agreement is worth the potential risk.

Have a question about “choice of law” or any other provision of a contract? Please call 516-873-3000 and we will advise you on the best ways to protect your interests.

Dealers vs. Cancer: Cruisin’ For the Cure

Leonard Bellavia is a nationally renowned dealership attorney. In 2016, at age 58, Bellavia’s yearly physical revealed a slightly elevated PSA level, a marker for prostate cancer. The doctor took a biopsy and ordered some imaging tests.

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