Judicial Conflict of Interest a Concern in Berkeley, CA’s ‘Cell Phone Right to Know’ Case Pending in Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals

BERKELEY, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–A possible conflict of interest in the family background of one of three
judges in a court case in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals related to
Berkeley, CA’s ‘Cell Phone Right to Know’ ordinance is an urgent concern.

According to Ellen Marks of the California Brain Tumor Association,
“Judge Michelle Friedland’s possible links to the wireless industry
should have been disclosed in a case relating to wireless risks, and the
judge recused, given the potential for lack of impartiality in matters
related to the wireless industry.”

In a current appeal by CTIA in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San
Francisco, a 3-judge panel heard from lawyers for CTIA and the City of
Berkeley on September 13, 2016, and a judicial decision is pending.
(CTIA-The Wireless Association v. City of Berkeley et al., case number
16-15141)

Lloyd Morgan, Senior Research Fellow at Environmental Health Trust and
citizen of the City of Berkeley, who attended the recent hearing,
says, “We were perplexed about Judge Friedland’s consistent support of
the testimony of the attorney for the CTIA-The Wireless Industry
Association, Theodore Olson of Gibson, Dunn and Crutcher. After
witnessing her body language at the hearing, numerous parties researched
the Judge’s associations and discovered potential conflicts of interest
that need to be brought to the Court’s attention.”

The Berkeley ordinance (No. 7,404-N.S.) in question was unanimously
approved by the Berkeley City Council May 12, 2015. It sustained an
appeal by the CTIA on September 21, 2015 (http://bit.ly/CTIABerkeleyruling09212015),
paving the way for implementation of the approved notices in retailers
on March 21, 2016. The notices now required at the point of sale caution
that use of cell phones close to the body in certain circumstances may
exceed the federal guidelines for exposure to RF radiation, language
already contained in cell phone manuals.

Concern about Judge Friedland’s possible conflicts of interest are based
on:

  • Judge Friedland’s husband, Daniel Kelly, is currently a Senior DSP
    Engineer with Tarana Wireless, Inc. in San Jose, CA (https://www.taranawireless.com/),
    which designs equipment needed for the coming 5G rollout. He was
    earlier employed at other technology companies, including Cisco
    Systems, a member of CTIA, where he was a “wireless engineer.”
  • Dr. Judd Uddenfeldt, past CTO of Ericsson and Sony Mobile, recently
    joined the Board of Directors of Tarana Wireless where Judge
    Friedland’s husband is employed.
  • AT&T is a major investor in Tarana, and AT&T is a member of CTIA.
  • It is possible Judge Friedland’s husband may have been granted stock
    options in Tarana Wireless, as is common in technology growth
    companies.
  • When Judge Friedland was nominated for judge she had recommendation
    letters from Cisco, Facebook, Google and Edison.

Max Anderson of the Berkeley City Council says, “It is appalling to
learn that a judge in this case may have possible wireless industry
conflicts of interest. It is especially important this be investigated
given Judge Friedland’s husband is a key employee of a firm linked to
several major players in the trillion dollar wireless sector.”

Media should contact Molly C. Dwyer, Clerk of Court at 415-355-8800
to request comment on the possible effects of these conflicts on Judge
Friedland’s apparent bias during the hearing September 13, 2016 and on
her vote.

A log of developments on the Berkeley ‘Cell Phone Right to Know’
ordinance can be viewed here: http://www.saferemr.com/2014/11/berkeley-cell-phone-right-to-know.html

The City of Berkeley is being represented pro bono by Lawrence Lessig,
Roy L. Furman Professor of Law and Leadership at Harvard Law School.
Formerly, Lessig was a Professor at Stanford Law School, where he
founded the school’s Center for Internet and Society, and has been named
one of Scientific American’s Top 50 Visionaries. http://www.lessig.org/about/.
The CTIA Wireless Industry Association is represented by Theodore Olson,
of Gibson, Dunn and Crutcher.

Contacts

California Brain Tumor Association
Ellen Marks, 925-285-5437
elliekmarks@gmail.com