Archives for January 2013

Media Advisory: Court Hearing to Determine the Future of Drakes Bay Oyster Company Scheduled for Jan 25





WHAT:  A hearing in the U.S. District Court of the Northern District of California to determine whether to grant a Preliminary Injunction and allow Drakes Bay Oyster Company to continue operations on their family farm.

After receiving news on November 29, 2012 from Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar that their family-run oyster farm could no longer remain on National Park Service land, the Lunny family enlisted the help of Cause of Action, as well as Stoel Rives, LLP, SSL Law Firm, LLP, and Briscoe Ivester & Bazel, LLP, to help fight for their farm, family, and their community against the government’s abuse of authority.


On December 18, Cause of Action filed a Motion for Preliminary Injunction, which if granted, will allow Drakes Bay Oyster Company to remain in business until the merits of the National Park Service and Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar decision to shut down the farm have been decided by the Court.



WHO:   Kevin Lunny, owner, Drakes Bay Oyster Company

Amber Abbasi, Chief Counsel for Regulatory Affairs at Cause of Action

Ryan Waterman, of Counsel at Stoel Rives, LLP
Peter Prows, Partner at Briscoe Ivester & Bazel, LLP

Cause of Action is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that uses investigative, legal, and communications tools to educate the public on how government accountability and transparency protects taxpayer interests and economic opportunity.



WHEN: Friday, January 25, 2013 at 2:00pm Pacific Time


WHERE: Oakland Courthouse, Courtroom 5 – 2nd Floor

1301 Clay Street, OaklandCA 94612


RSVP: This hearing is open to the media and the public. Cameras will not be allowed inside the courtroom.


To speak with Kevin Lunny, owner of Drakes Bay Oyster Company or Amber Abbasi, Chief Counsel for Regulatory Affairs at Cause of Action, contact Mary Beth Hutchins,  202-400-2721 or Jamie Morris,, at





Daily Caller: Green companies sue Energy Dept. for ‘cronyism,’ leaking confidential business information

Read the full story here. Daily Caller

“The government watchdog group Cause of Action filed two lawsuits against the Department of Energy last week on behalf of two green businesses arguing that the department relied on political connections instead of merit-based reviews to award loan guarantees, and leaked the confidential business information to government-backed competitors.

“This case is about fighting government cronyism,” Dan Epstein, executive director of Cause of Action. “It is a rather fluid story of when you have a start-up company, that’s a small business … looking to get a piece of the American dream. And because the government is involved in the business of picking winners and losers, they fundamentally not only shut down that dream, but destroyed the company.”

Cause of Action is representing the companies XP Vehicles, which applied for a DOE loan to mass produce an SUV-style electronic vehicle that would start at less than $20,000, and Limnia, an advanced technology energy systems company that made critical technology for XPV….”

Dan Epstein on WDEL: “This case is about Cronyism plain and simple”

Executive Director Dan Epstein describing our clients XP Vehicles and Limnia, and their case against the crony Department of Energy.


Dan Epstein on XP/Limnia Case (Recorded on WDEL 1/15/2013)

Doe v. Hamburg Amended Complaint and Exhibits

Amended complaint in Doe v. Hamburg et al. case filed on January 11th, 2013 in the US District Court for the Northern District of California.

Amended Complaint

Exhibit 1

Exhibit 2



AM-1300 WMEL Producer’s Blog: Bought and Paid for Winners and Losers? The XP Vehicles/Limnia Saga.

Read the full story here. Raised on Hoecakes

“In a lawsuit filed by the non-profit group Cause of Action, we may have an answer to that in the future.

The lawsuit involves the actions of the Department of Energy (DOE) and loans the Department made to help develop hybrid and electric cars. Enter into the arena a company by the name of XP Vehicles(XPV). In 2008, XP Vehicles applied for a loan from the Department of Energy for their revolutionary all electric, small SUV. XP Vehicles was using basic “off the shelf” products to make a vehicle that was one third lighter than a Toyota Prius. This was accomplished by using expanding polymers for the car’s body, making it lighter and safer. To propel the car, XP Vehicles partnered with Limnia, Inc, a company that was going to use a solid state regenerative sodium fuel cell to generate electricity for the electric motor. Instead of charging, the fuel cell could be “hot swapped” within a few minutes. The resultant combination of technologies would be a safe, lightweight car with virtually unlimited range. No longer would the electric car require charging for 8 hours or a long extension cord being dragged behind it.”

White House Opens New Year with Open Data Mandate

In our blog outlining New Year’s resolutions for the federal government, we noted how a report from the Cato Institute gave the administration poor grades on data publication practices. The report found that, “the administration and the Congress both receive fairly low marks under systematic examination of their data publication practices.”

We are happy to learn that the administration is working towards improving its data public practices. According to Federal News Radio, the Office of Management and Budget will soon mandate that agencies release machine-readable data.

The change is part of the president’s Digital Management Strategy described in a May 23, 2012 report from the White House.  An objective in the report states that, “We must enable the public, entrepreneurs, and our own government programs to better leverage the rich wealth of federal data to pour into applications and services by ensuring that data is open and machine-readable by default.”

Jim Harper, the author of the Cato report on government publication practices, called the change “good, not yet great.”  He added that, “great would be the White House itself publishing machine-readable, open data when it issues the president’s budget in February. Along with the plan for fiscal year 2014 spending, why couldn’t we get the code that distinctly identifies each agency, bureau, program, and project—in essence, the organization of the U.S. federal government?”

There is still a lot of work this administration needs to take regarding open government and transparency, but we applaud this change. We hope OMB officially issues this mandate sooner rather than later. Electric car designers suing DOE over loan denials, intellectual property disclosure

Read the full story here. Fox News

“XP Vehicles and Limnia attempted to file a similar lawsuit in Federal Court of Claims in November, but it was rejected because they did not have legal representation at the time. Now, the companies have teamed up with Cause of Action, a self-proclaimed nonpartisan government watchdog group often linked to conservative issues.

Cause of Action Executive Director Dan Epstein said his organization became involved in an effort to expose what his clients allege is rampant cronyism in the loan approval process for the Energy Department’s $25 billion Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing (ATVM) program, which was created to support the development of fuel efficient automobiles.
To this end, the would-be automakers designed a radical, lightweight, energy-efficient vehicle that uses bodywork constructed from a foam-filled, flexible material instead of metal, and runs on electricity provided by a system of exchangeable battery cartridges or hydrogen fuel cells…

“While the Department does not comment on pending or potential litigation, multiple investigations spanning almost two years and involving millions of pages of documents show that decisions made on the Department’s loan program were made solely on the merits after careful review by the Departments technical experts,” said Energy Department Spokesperson Damien LaVera in a statement to

Epstein says his goal is not just getting compensation for his client, but also laws on the books to put a check on the governments “unbridled authority in picking of winners and losers.” Along with the issues surrounding the rejected loans, the lawsuits also claim that the Energy Department, through its Sandia National Laboratories, shared Limnia’s secret designs for a hydrogen-fueled power system with both Ford and General Motors, then encouraged the company to seek a partnership with GM so that there would “there was no acrimony…”