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NAME AND TITLE: Harry L. Goldsmith, senior vice president, general counsel and secretary, AutoZone Inc. AGE: 51 BRAKING AN ANTITRUST CASE: “If we believe we’re right, we’re not afraid to go to trial,” said Autozone Inc. General Counsel Harry L. Goldsmith. This bring-it-on litigation strategy recently paid off for the auto parts chain in a federal antitrust suit. In February 2000, the “Coalition for a Level Playing Field,” representing more than 100 auto parts warehouse distributors and jobbers, sued Autozone, Advance Auto Parts, Pep Boys, Wal-Mart and five other national auto parts dealers, alleging price discrimination in violation of the Robinson-Patman Act. According to the complaint, filed in the Eastern District of New York, Autozone and the other defendants obtained manufacturer discounts, sham allowances and rebates that resulted in cheaper prices than those offered to smaller auto parts wholesalers and retailers. The plaintiffs sought injunctive relief and treble damages in excess of $100 million. Before the trial, the plaintiffs settled or dropped their claims against all defendants, except Autozone and Advance Auto Parts. “We feel that we operate at the highest ethical and legal standards, and did not violate any laws,” explained Goldsmith. The defendants cooperated in the courtroom to defeat the plaintiffs’ claim of collusion in the marketplace, said Goldsmith. CAR SHOP: Memphis, Tenn.-based Autozone owns and operates more than 3,100 stores nationwide and in Mexico, selling auto and light-truck parts and accessories to car owners and auto shops. The 45,000-employee, nonunion, public company reported $5.3 billion in net sales in 2002. LEGAL TOOLS: From his spare, glass-enclosed office on the sixth floor of the Autozone Building in Memphis, Goldsmith oversees 14 lawyers, including seven attorneys in the real estate group, four in the labor group and a three-member team that handles government and public relations. As a member of the 10-person senior executive committee, Goldsmith participates in all major corporate decisions. He also helped the internal certification process for financial statements, to back up the CEO and CFO certifications required under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. EMPLOYMENT CASES: Goldsmith said the company minimizes employment-related litigation by enforcing a zero-tolerance policy on discrimination and sexual harassment. Aggrieved employees can complain through management channels, or via a toll-free “hot line” to the labor group at headquarters, he said. Goldsmith shifts to neutral when talk turns to specific lawsuits, citing a company policy against discussing ongoing litigation. In 2000, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) filed suit against Autozone on behalf of black and female employees and job applicants at the company’s headquarters. The EEOC claims that statistics from the mid-1990s show that white males were unfairly favored in hiring and promotions. From 1993 to 1995, for example, no blacks and only 16 females were hired for 59 openings in managerial positions. “That’s been going on for years, and we really don’t know what their case is,” said Goldsmith. “We don’t feel we’ve done anything wrong and we’re fighting it.” He demurred on further comment on the case, which is now in discovery. In another recent sex discrimination case, though, Autozone decided to barter rather than brawl. Autozone paid $10,000 in March 2001 to settle an EEOC complaint on behalf of a female Autozone worker in Little Rock, Ark., who alleged that she was passed over for promotion in favor of a less qualified male. IP: “We’re very aggressive on the protection of intellectual property,” said Goldsmith. “We view that as a very, very important asset of this company.” His company learned about the importance of trademarks soon after it was founded as “Auto Shack.” In 1982, Tandy Corp., owner of the Radio Shack electronics chain, sued the fledgling company for trademark infringement. As part of the 1986 settlement of the suit, Autozone adopted its present name. The two companies returned to the trademark battlefield in 1999, after Tandy began using the “Powerzone” mark to identify batteries and related goods in Radio Shack stores. In November 2001, a federal district judge in Nashville, Tenn., granted summary judgment to Tandy, ruling that the two companies’ marks and products were dissimilar enough to avoid consumer confusion. That same month, Autozone slapped a trademark-infringement suit against a former employee who started an air conditioning and heating business called ClimateZone. In May 2002, a Memphis federal judge granted partial summary judgment to Autozone, knocking out the defendant’s claim that Autozone had unduly delayed in filing suit. Goldsmith declined comment on the case. ‘BEYOND BIZARRE’: On Jan. 10, Edward S. Lambert, an Autozone board member and the company’s largest shareholder, was kidnapped in Greenwich, Conn., where he heads a hedge-fund investment firm. While blindfolded and handcuffed in a Days Inn motel room, Lambert was told by one of his four abductors that Autozone had paid them $3 million to kill him, according to The Wall Street Journal. After 28 hours of captivity, Lambert reportedly persuaded his captors to release him with a promise to top Autozone’s offer by paying them $5 million. The kidnappers were tracked after using Lambert’s credit card to buy pizza, apparently while waiting for their freed victim to return with his own ransom. According to an unnamed law enforcement official quoted in the Journal, the hapless criminals’ claim to be Autozone agents was a lie. “We had absolutely nothing to do with it and [Autozone management] was extremely relieved when he was released unharmed,” said Goldsmith, calling the entire episode “beyond bizarre.” In March, three defendants accused in the kidnapping pleaded guilty. Renaldo Rose, the alleged mastermind, is awaiting trial in Hartford, Conn. PRINCIPAL OUTSIDE COUNSEL: Goldsmith uses a variety of firms nationwide, depending on the nature and locus of the legal matter. In recent years, Latham & Watkins has handled securities matters, and the firm represented Autozone in the Robinson-Patman litigation. For employment matters, Goldsmith occasionally calls on New Orleans-based Frilot, Partridge, Kohnke & Clements. MEMPHIS MAN: Goldsmith is a native of Memphis, where his family ran Goldsmith’s Department Store, a downtown institution founded by his great-grandfather. He graduated from the University of Texas in 1973 and from the University of Memphis School of Law in 1977. He then worked as an associate with the local firm of Goodman Glazer Greener Schneider & McQuiston. In 1982, he went in-house at Memphis-based Federal Express, working on financing and airplane deals. Two years later, he left to co-found the business firm of Brown Reese & Goldsmith. He returned to FedEx in 1989 and was hired as Autozone’s general counsel in the summer of 1993. PERSONAL: Goldsmith, who is divorced, lives in Memphis. In his free time, he enjoys golf, tennis and attending home games of the NBA’s Memphis Grizzlies. LAST BOOK READ AND LAST MOVIE SEEN: “Reversible Error,” by Scott Turow, and “Chicago,” which won the 2003 Academy Award for best picture.

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