Photo: JD Lasica via flickr
Yahoo, in the midst of fighting a lawsuit in Mexico that could cost it $2.7 billion or more, has just lost its top legal official in the country.Maria Andrea Valles, Yahoo Mexico’s general counsel, recently updated her LinkedIn profile to show she’d left that company and joined Google as a corporate counsel.
A Google spokesperson confirmed the hire. Yahoo did not respond to a request for comment.
Claudia Villegas, a columnist for Milenio, a Mexican newspaper recently reported that a large group of Yahoo lawyers had gathered in Mexico in late December to analyse the lawsuit and formulate a response.
Valles had worked for Yahoo first as outside legal counsel, then in-house, since 2008, according to her LinkedIn profile. In 2010, she gave a lecture on privacy and transparency in Monterrey.
Her departure comes at a singularly inopportune time for Yahoo, considering that it’s pursuing an appeal of the $2.7 billion judgment that a court awarded Worldwide Directories, Yahoo’s former business partner in a telephone-directory project.
Worldwide Directories claimed that it had reached tentative agreements to start extending its telephone-directory partnership beyond Mexico, which led to an award of damages based not just on its Mexican business but the potential business it could have generated around the world.
Yahoo has previously said the original lawsuit is without merit and it has filed an appeal in the case.
Yahoo has already seen many changes to its legal team. The lawyer who handled the original lawsuit for Yahoo subsequently left his firm, Baker & McKenzie. Then Yahoo hired a well-known Mexican law firm for the appeal.
Even the judge who originally heard the case has changed jobs.