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Law—Luce Forward aids DaimlerChrysler pact in Mexico



Procopio Arguments Used in Battle Against

Mental-Health Facility

DaimlerChrysler de Mexico recently enlisted the help of San Diego’s Luce, Forward, Hamilton & Scripps LLP to negotiate an automobile distribution agreement with Hyundai Motor Co. of South Korea.

According to the law firm, the transaction marks the first time Hyundai has ever granted exclusive distribution rights to another multinational company.

John W. Brooks, chair of Luce, Forward’s international services group Downtown, was lead counsel to DaimlerChrysler de M & #233;xico, a subsidiary of Germany’s DaimlerChrysler AG.

The deal will let DaimlerChrysler import a new Hyundai subcompact to Mexico, where it will be marketed as the ATOS by Dodge. DaimlerChrysler’s Mexican dealer network will also service the car.

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The product is a response to what the law firm described as a growing entry-level automotive market in Mexico. Over the five-year term of the agreement, the Mexican market for the ATOS is expected to be in excess of $1 billion.

The DaimlerChrysler-Hyundai deal was concluded Aug. 9, and capped five months of negotiations in Mexico, South Korea and the United States. Jessica W. Wenzell, a first-year associate at the law firm, and Jamie Knox, a summer associate, helped Brooks on the project.

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Procopio Battles State Plan: Downtown’s Procopio, Cory, Hargreaves & Savitch LLP is taking credit for getting Sacramento to place a hospital for sexually violent predators outside Imperial County.

The California Department of Mental Health announced in early August that its preferred spot for the new hospital was next to Pleasant Valley State Prison in Coalinga, in Fresno County.

A site near Centinela Prison, 12 miles west of El Centro, was on the state’s short list for the 1,500-bed mental facility , the first to be built in nearly five years.

Dave Hubbard, an attorney on Procopio’s environmental law team, represented a group of Imperial Valley business interests and residents, the Committee of Concerned Citizens, in fighting the hospital project.

Among other things, he responded to the hospital’s draft environmental impact report with some critical comments. One of his arguments was that new detention facilities in Imperial County do not bring the economic boon their promoters predict. The law firm noted this would be the fifth detention facility in a 50-mile radius.

Another Imperial Valley contingent favored the hospital.

A statement from the Department of Mental Health said “stronger local support” in Fresno County swayed the state in its decision. The same statement also cited lower construction costs, lower operational costs, and greater opportunity for staff recruitment and retention in the San Joaquin Valley.

State Bar Role: Ethna Piazza of the Downtown office of Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton, LLP, is stepping up in her work with the State Bar of California. She was appointed last year to the corporations committee of its business law section. The committee has since named Piazza as secretary. She will start the job Oct. 1. Piazza works as a special counsel in the corporate and securities department of the Los Angeles-based firm.

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Law Fair: The Thomas Jefferson School of Law hosts the National Black Law Students Association Southern California job fair all day Sept. 30. Several local firms and government agencies will be recruiting there.

Items for this column may be sent via E-mail to bgraves@sdbj.com.

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