2007/02/12

California: "Let's compromise." Big Auto: "Shove it!"

Last Friday California's new Attorney General, Jerry Brown, invited Big Auto to the negotiating table to try and settle a pair of dueling lawsuits: California's suit seeking damages from six manufacturers, and Big Auto's suit to prevent California from enacting strict emissions limits on greenhouse gases. But rather than a dialog, Brown got a lecture from an industry lawyer:
We know that you inherited this lawsuit from your predecessor and remain hopeful that you will decide to dismiss it...
...translation: "F*ck you!" And of Big Auto's failure to even mention their own lawsuit against the state:
We view this global warming case as a frivolous suit... We don't think it has any connection to the [automakers'] case or any other case.
...translation: "And by the way, f*ck you!"

Seems Big Auto's opinion couldn't be clearer: Only they have the right to use the courts to seek advantage for their industry. California, acting on behalf of it's 36M residents, isn't entitled to the same remedies.

Might as well press the case Jerry. You've got nothing to lose.

13 Comments:

It's the exhibition of this type of compassion that makes me not weep for struggling US auto makers.
There's a big difference between big auto corporate - and the folks who's lives depend on the jobs from automakers.

While I have little sympathy for the corporate 6-8 figure income suits, the guys on the line have more of my sympathy.

I will never buy Japanese. Especially after the stupidity shown in their moving plants to Canada - they reasoned that it takes to long to train the hillbillys in the depressed and poorly educated poor end of the South, so they're moving to Canada. Never mind that there are plenty of already-trained and capable folks in Illinois and Michigan - oh my!no, we need to move to Kannuckland...
Lew... Well California hasn't spared the overseas companies. Toyota and Daimler-Chrysler are included in our suit to recover damages, but generally the their position of Big Auto is not defensible: We can sue, but you can't.

Sewmouse, I'm sorry to say this, but I can't support any industry that would force it's will on 36M people soley for the sake of shoring their bottom line--especially with their demonstrated inability to compete. Unlike you, I have not owned an American car...ever. My rule is simple: If the combined MPG of the vehicle is not 32, I will not own it. (Not that I own a car now anyway, but I have owned cars...really...I have.) Anyway that benchmark leaves very few options from the US contingent, and none with the reliability or resale value of a Honda.
That's a perfect example of the rightwing mindset. If a corporation is being sued, it becomes "America is too lawsuit crazy! Too much litigation! Too many lawyers!" But there isn't a peep out of these same people when a huge corporation (or group of corporations) files a lawsuit.
How the Automakers can still deny global warming is beyond me. It's not even profitable. One could almost defend the business strategy of denying global warming if Toyota weren't kicking American Autos butt. But in light of the fact, it's not even business, it's stupidity.
I used to be sympathetic to automakers, but now I just feel like they're trying to kill us.
Tom, Station Agent...and what's worse, Bu$hCo is on the side of the automakers filing 'friend of the court' briefs to help get CA's statutes overturned.

It's not even profitable...

No truer words Octavian. I mean even Toyota is not yet selling hybrids in the numbers that would have a huge impact on their bottom line. So I think that the US automakers could still catch up and in doing so raise their profitibility.
I think that F*ck You attitude is what you get from a lot of large corps when it comes to following laws and rules. It starts in the white house and works it's way down. Money talks louder than health or any other sane issue.
Diggit, Frog. All Big Auto has to do is pay for its own upgrades. Same as always only with a more aggressive approach to fuel economy and alternative fuels.

Personal magneto rail roadways? Not necessarily, and that's still way outside Detroit's thought-box. Wall St's demands are just too high a % of the whole economic equation.

Money drives Tech awesomely but it's too horrific in it's Cultural inequities to go unregulated, its patina turning Gold as its heart defribrillates in hunger, rage and an incomplete ignorance.

Ahh, well. Happy V's D, however it turns out this round.
PoP said what I was going to say. The attitudes of the large corps ARE like those coming from the White House, like the foreign policy thing we currently have going... America reserves the right as the sole nation on Earth which can use force in a pre-emptive manner, the only nation to which the Geneva Convention and the Kyoto Accord don't apply, the only nation that doesn't have to pay attention to the United Nations, the only one to which international law does not apply, etc.

Yeah, I guess it is all about the money. Sigh...
Sigh...here we go again.:) I didn't know Moonbeam was your new A.G. Congratulations!

California: "Let's compromise." Big Auto: "Shove it!"
Your title was misleading, imo. Moonbeam wanted a meeting; the A.C.'s said "ok, we'll send the lawyers that represent us in your lawsuit against us", exactly as is the right (and more often than not is the advice you get: let them talk) when you or I are sued. But Moonbeam said no; I talk to the CEO's or nothing. At that point, he was told jam it in his ass, and justifiably so. When you and I are sued, if we hire lawyers, they are recognized by law as our spokesmen in that lawsuit. The other side can't dictate they'll only talk to you or me. Moonbeam was being Moonbeam. In outer space, as usual.
PoP, Snave...and the arrogance associated with the corporate attitude, "We have your best interest at heart, don't try to block us.

Michael... I firmly believe that we could "innovate" ourselves our of he mess we're in, but not while corporations have it easy in terms of regulation.
TFWY... Actually the point of the post was less about the specific words, who said what to whom, and who represents whom, then it was about double standard that Big Auto applies to states wishing to make a positive impact on their environment.

Your observation is correct, but totally off topic. The issue is Big Oil's willingness, even eagerness to call CA's lawsuit frivolous (it is), but refusal to concede that their own is as well. Lockyear never filed the CA lawsuit with the intention of actually recovering damages, he filed it to bring about exactly the situation that Brown bungled.

My point was to highlight Big Auto's paternalistic, "...we have every right to determine your regulations for you, but you have no right to sue us for the consenquences of our meddling," attitude.

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