Sidley Austin partner Roger Martella Jr and his client, LG Electronics, are in a sticky situation with the Department of Energy. They’re in court fighting over 40,000 stickers. As humorous as it sounds, Martella is trying to impress upon the court the seriousness of the matter.
In 2008, the Department of Energy and LG Electronics entered an agreement detailing how the government would test its refrigerators for energy efficiency. Refrigerators that meet the standards get an “Energy Star” sticker, making them more desirable for consumers. Subsequent to that agreement, the government changed its testing procedures. LG claims that the 2008 agreement set an industry standard and that the government failed to implement proper procedures in making changes. The government claims that the agreement was limited in scope and any refrigerators manufactured subsequent to the change in standards must meet the new higher standard.
LG has already agreed to meet the new standard for all units made after today, but wants the court to allow existing units to keep their stickers. Removing them now would not only cause economic harm to the company by making the 40,000 unsold units more difficult to sell, it would also cause irreparable damage to the company’s reputation if they are forced to remove the stickers.