Category Archives: Compliance

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“Proactive Safety Principles” Agreement Reached with NHTSA

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and all of the major automakers doing business in the United States have agreed on a Statement of Proactive Safety Principles that are intended to reaffirm the agency and industry’s commitment to work collaboratively to further improve vehicle safety. Described by NHTSA as “historic,” the Statement of Principles … Continue reading this entry

2016 Outlook: NHTSA, Automotive Safety, and Cybersecurity

2016 will likely be an active year for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and increased enforcement actions and new technology and privacy measures are expected. Below are four things to keep in mind for the coming year.… Continue reading this entry

California Proposes Regulations On Deployment of Autonomous Cars

California’s DMV recently released preliminary regulations on self-driving cars—and proposed a ban on cars without a driver on board. The rules stem from a 2012 law ordering the DMV to issue rules on autonomous vehicles. The testing regulations were approved in May 2014. The most recent proposed rules relate to the deployment of autonomous vehicles on … Continue reading this entry

Best Practices to Avoid Common FCPA Violations: Third-Parties

While the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (“FCPA”) is an extremely complex act, there are two common FCPA violations of which automotive companies with international operations should be particularly sensitive. We recently discussed the challenges associated with providing gifts, meals, and entertainment to customers. In this post, we discuss another common issue: using third-parties abroad. Third-Parties … Continue reading this entry

Best Practices to Avoid Common FCPA Violations: Gifts, Meals, and Entertainment

As our previous posts illustrate, violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (“FCPA”) can carry a hefty cost. Two issues are commonly the impetus for FCPA violations and, practically speaking, pose significant FCPA compliance challenges. Automotive companies which conduct international business should be particularly sensitive to (1) providing gifts, meals, and entertainment to potential and existing … Continue reading this entry

The High Cost of an FCPA Violation

Violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (“FCPA”) can lead to hefty penalties. Indeed, individuals who violate the FCPA, and their employers, could be on the hook for a variety of penalties described below. Businesses need to be aware of these potential consequences in order to appropriately perform risk-based analyses and determine what level of … Continue reading this entry

Making the FCPA “Reasonable” — Exceptions & Affirmative Defenses

So, we have covered the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act’s (“FCPA”) scope, but the FCPA anti-bribery provisions also contain certain exceptions and affirmative defenses. These exceptions and affirmative defenses attempt to carve out legitimate payments to foreign officials, so the FCPA does not unreasonably hamper international business. Be wary, however, because prosecutors narrowly interpret these exceptions … Continue reading this entry

NHTSA Announces Record Setting Civil Penalty in Consent Order With Chrysler

In 2014, NHTSA collected a record setting amount of civil penalties. For 2015, NHTSA may be on pace to exceed last year’s record. On July 26, 2015, NHTSA announced a $105 million civil penalty against FCA US LLC, the former Chrysler Group. As those who follow NHTSA have come to expect, the settlement came in … Continue reading this entry

Preventing Whistleblower Claims in the Automotive Industry

Making Your Termination Decision Count (Don’t Sleep On This One…)
Whistleblower and retaliation claims are some of the most costly claims brought by employees and they are on the rise. OSHA, who governs complaints for over 20 whistleblower statutes, reports a 58% increase in whistleblower claims between 2005 and 2014. Retaliation claims under the statutes governed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission have increased 70% in … Continue reading this entry

Michigan Storm Water Update – July 2015

The following post is provided by our guest author, Karen Lutz from TRC. Karen can be reached at klutz@trcsolutions.com.  What? – If you have an industrial/manufacturing facility in Michigan, and storm water runoff is exposed to industrial materials and/or industrial activities which discharge to waters of the state, you are likely subject to storm water … Continue reading this entry

DOT Issues Scathing Internal Report of NHTSA’s Defect Investigation Processes

What’s Next for Conflict Minerals Rules After D.C. Circuit Decision?
In the wake of GM’s ignition-switch, the Secretary of Transportation, Anthony R. Foxx, directed an investigation into NHTSA’s defect investigation policies and procedures. Specifically, Secretary Foxx requested that the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Office of the Inspector General (OIG) assess NHTSA’s Office of Defects Investigation’s (ODI) procedures for (1) collecting vehicle safety data, (2) analyzing … Continue reading this entry

NHTSA Seeks to Push Beyond the “New Normal” and into the “New Paradigm”

In recent years, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has received increased public and Congressional scrutiny stemming from high-profile safety defects, such as the Toyota unintended-acceleration issues and last year’s GM ignition-switch issue. On June 5, 2015, NHTSA released two reports – the agency’s “Path Forward” and its “Workforce Assessment: The Future of NHTSA’s … Continue reading this entry

Is Your Company a Federal Government Contractor?

Suppliers Get Ready For Your Recalls
Many automotive suppliers do not consider themselves federal government contractors because they only sell goods and services to the major OEMs and not directly to the federal government. However, purchase orders with OEMs or other customers that incorporate by reference Federal Acquisition Regulation (“FAR”) clauses, FAR agency supplemental clauses, or other federal government contracting laws … Continue reading this entry

Different Standards for Self-Critical Analysis Privilege: What You Need to Know

NU.S. Supreme Court Expands Scope of Whistleblower Protections
In a recent March 19, 2015 decision, the Illinois Supreme Court refused to acknowledge the self-critical analysis privilege. This recent discussion underscores the need to understand the different standards for the privilege in each jurisdiction a company operates under and the importance of the proactive steps to safeguard privilege detailed in our November 13, 2014 … Continue reading this entry

NHTSA’s Enforcement Priorities Made Clear in U.S. DOT’s Transportation Bill (Grow America Act)

Last year, the U.S. Department of Transportation unveiled its long-term transportation bill, entitled the Grow America Act, which contained the Department’s wish list for funding and new authorities. On March 31, 2015, the Department submitted a similar bill, also called the Grow America Act, which builds upon its prior proposal. The bill includes a number … Continue reading this entry

Supreme Court Signaling That Agencies May Have a Shorter Leash in the Future

What’s Next for Conflict Minerals Rules After D.C. Circuit Decision?
The automotive industry, as much as any industry operating in the United States, has a substantial federal regulatory burden, with an alphabet soup of agencies charged with regulating under the authority of an alphabet soup of statutes. Understanding whether a business is in compliance with the thicket of regulations covering the auto industry often requires considering … Continue reading this entry

The FCPA Mandate in a Nutshell

As discussed in our Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (“FCPA”) overview, automotive companies participating in international business must be mindful of the FCPA. Though many are aware of the FCPA, some do not understand its breadth and depth. Below is a bare-bones breakdown of this federal law’s scope. While the below outline will help readers understand … Continue reading this entry

Why It's Wise to Pay Attention to Your FCPA Compliance

Companies in the automotive industry would be wise to pay attention to Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (the “FCPA”) compliance. What has in the past been a risk management issue principally for massive multi-national corporations is now a real and serious risk for almost any company – large, medium or small; public or private – that sells products, … Continue reading this entry

The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act: A Pitfall in International Trade

Department of Energy Makes it Easier to Access Low-Interest Financing
Just as in 2014, the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (“FCPA”) should be top of mind for any automotive company conducting or considering international business. Indeed, any doubts that the government was still interested in investigating and prosecuting companies and individuals for violations of the FCPA, were put to rest in 2014. This is so because government enforcement … Continue reading this entry

Are You Focused on FCPA Compliance? You Should Be

What’s Next for Conflict Minerals Rules After D.C. Circuit Decision?
The topic of FCPA compliance should be top-of-mind for U.S. auto industry companies who do business with third-party intermediaries and subsidiaries overseas, particularly in known “hot spots” such as China, India, Russia, Mexico, and Brazil. Enforcement activity by the U.S. Department of Justice shows no signs of slowing, and other countries have started to ramp … Continue reading this entry

Know the Risks: Domestic and International Compliance

The penalties for compliance missteps have never been higher — particularly in the international regulatory context. As the record-setting penalties against BNP Paribas (nearly $9 billion in penalties for violations of economic sanctions and anti-money laundering laws) in 2014 amply illustrates, the criminal and civil penalties for violations of U.S. law have never been higher. … Continue reading this entry

What's Next for NHTSA and Automotive Safety?

What’s Next for Conflict Minerals Rules After D.C. Circuit Decision?
This past year, we witnessed the GM Ignition Switch investigation, which involved massive recalls, multiple Congressional hearings, and civil penalties; the ongoing Takata airbag inflator investigation and recalls (and more Congressional hearings); multiple legislative proposals seeking to increase the civil penalty ceiling and expand NHTSA’s enforcement authority; and an unprecedented number of other recalls, civil … Continue reading this entry

Top Legal Issues Facing Suppliers in 2015

Foley’s Automotive Industry Team has prepared this overview of the major trends we see affecting automotive suppliers this year. While not all legal risk can be anticipated, companies that are aware of litigation, enforcement, and regulatory trends will be one step ahead of their competition. Top issues include:… Continue reading this entry

Charting Your Way Through Chrysler Group LLC's New Terms and Conditions

Chrysler Group LLC (Chrysler) issued new general terms and conditions (Terms) for production and Mopar purchasing that will apply to all purchase orders issued after December 1, 2014. The new Terms are not retroactive and apply only to the NAFTA region. The Terms include 41 provisions and reflect significant changes from prior iterations, especially with … Continue reading this entry