Former U.S. Attorney David Kelley was appointed as the government monitor to supervise Toyota Motor Corp.’s safety after the company’s mishandling of vehicle recalls for unintended acceleration.
Keisuke Kirimoto, a spokesman for the Toyota City, Japan-based carmaker, confirmed the U.S. Justice Department’s appointment of Kelley. The company expects to have a “cooperative and constructive working relationship with Mr. Kelley,” he said.
Kelley, a New York-based partner at Cahill Gordon & Reindel LLP, will review Toyota’s policies and safety procedures, and verify the accuracy of its public statements. The monitor position is part of a settlement in March, in which Toyota paid a record $1.2 billion penalty and admitted it misled U.S. consumers in 2009 and 2010 about problems with its cars over sudden, unintended acceleration.
The appointment comes as the Justice Department and Congress investigate General Motors Co. for its handling of defective ignition switches linked to at least 13 deaths. Detroit-based GM recalled about 29 million vehicles in North America this year, a record.
For Toyota, the recalls blemished its reputation for quality and led to the company losing its title as the world’s top-selling automaker to GM. Toyota regained the industry lead in each of the last two years and clung to a slim lead over Volkswagen AG through the first half of 2014.
The Detroit News earlier reported Kelley’s appointment.
Obama Scales Back Ban on Lobbyists Serving on Government Panels
President Barack Obama reversed part of a 2011 ban that prevented lobbyists from serving on federal boards and commissions after lobbyists claimed in a lawsuit that the restrictions violated their First Amendment rights.
As a result of the rule change, lobbyists can again serve on U.S. boards, commissions and advisory panels as representatives of state or local governments, industry groups, environmental organizations or labor unions.
Melanie Roussell, communications director for the Office of Management and Budget, said in a statement Aug. 12 that the purpose of the prohibition was “to restrict the undue influence of lobbyists on the federal government” and was “not designed to prevent lobbyists or others from petitioning their government.”
The six lobbyists who sued had sought to serve on government advisory panels known as international trade advisory committees.
Charles Rothfeld, the special counsel at Mayer Brown LLP in Washington who represented the lobbyists, said in a statement that the change in the ban “vindicates the First Amendment rights of these individuals, while also allowing trade agencies to benefit from their technical expertise.”
The lobbyists’ lawsuit was dismissed in 2012, but the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia revived the suit in January.
The case is Autor v. Pritzker, 12-5379, U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia (Washington).
Yahoo Ordered to Face User Privacy Claims Over Scanned E-Mail
Yahoo! Inc. was ordered by a federal judge to face a lawsuit alleging its scanning of e-mail to target advertising violates users’ privacy rights.
In a mixed ruling, U.S. District Judge Lucy H. Koh in San Jose, California, granted Yahoo’s request to throw out federal wiretap claims that its terms of service don’t notify users that e-mails with non-Yahoo Mail users will be intercepted, scanned and analyzed to create user profiles and for advertising purposes.
The judge also dismissed claims that Yahoo failed to properly disclose it would collect and store the content of users’ e-mails for future use.
She said in the Aug. 12 ruling that she will permit the users to go forward with an allegation brought under a different wiretap claim that Yahoo might have illegally disclosed to third parties the content of e-mails between Yahoo Mail users and people with non-Yahoo addresses.
Privacy experts and defense lawyers have paid increasingly close attention to Koh’s rulings as more cases require judges to reconcile wiretap laws written in the landline-phone era with users’ concerns about how companies use the troves of data generated when people send e-mails and surf the Web.
The lawsuit against Sunnyvale, California-based Yahoo, filed last year, was brought on behalf of residents of San Bruno, California, and seeks class-action status. The users claimed the company intercepted e-mail without proper consent to profit from targeted advertising, profiling, data collection and other services unrelated to Yahoo Mail.
Sara Gorman, a Yahoo spokeswoman, didn’t immediately respond to an e-mail after regular business hours seeking comment on the decision.
The case is Holland v. Yahoo! Inc., 13-cv-04980, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California (San Jose).
Lateral Hires at DLA Piper, Sutherland and McDermott Will
DLA Piper LLP added two partners to its corporate and finance group. Mark Roppel, who specializes in cross-border transactions in Asia, Europe and the Americas, joined the firm in New York. Previously, he was a partner at Allen & Overy LLP in China.
Geoffrey Ossias joined DLA in Phoenix, focusing on emerging companies in a range of technology-driven sectors, including health care, e-commerce, renewable energy and financial services. Previously, Ossias practiced at Quarles & Brady LLP, where he was co-chairman of the firm’s emerging growth companies practice.
Leah Robinson joined the state and local tax practice of Sutherland Asbill & Brennan LLP as a partner in New York. Previously, she was a partner at McDermott Will & Emery LLP. According to a statement from the firm, Robinson advises clients in tax planning, policy, controversy and litigation across a range of industries.
Alysse McLoughlin joined McDermott as a partner in its state and local tax group, also in New York. Additionally, Richard Call, formerly an associate at Morrison & Foerster LLP, is joining the tax practice as counsel in the New York office.
McLoughlin returns to McDermott from Barclays Plc, where she led the state tax practice. She practiced at McDermott from 1996 to 2006.