When Did Toyota Know its Gas Pedals Were Bad?

AutoBlog.com has some serious and bad news about Toyota, the company whose quality and safety-commitment has not been seriously questioned in more years than most can recall.

They quote the US Transportation Secretary, the same guy whose agency is in charge of all motor vehicle recalls in the US, as saying that it took enormous effort to get Toyota to go ahead with the recall involving the now-infamous gas pedal defect. To be blunt about it, he called Toyota "a little safety deaf."

For a company that has made literally billions off the backs of US citizens by selling them millions of cars and trucks, being a "little safety deaf" appears to be a long-standing problem.

Federal recall investigators and officials actually got on a plane and flew to Japan last December "to remind Toyota management about its legal obligations." He went on, "Since questions were first raised about possible safety defects, we have been pushing Toyota to take measures to protect consumers. ... it unfortunately took an enormous effort to get to this point."

Not surprisingly, Toyota has not only lost the confidence of thousands of its once-loyal owners, but that confidence transformed into a $21 Billion loss in market share in just one week. No wonder after a 5.3 million vehicle sudden acceleration-floor mat recall last fall that was followed up with a 2.3 million vehicle recall for sudden acceleration-sticking gas pedal recall last month. Top that off with another 1.1 million cars added to the dangerous floor mat recall, and top that off again with making the gas pedal recall go global.

What few recall however is that all of this recent mess follows on the heels of something much worse, allegations of deliberate hiding of damning evidence by Toyota involved in the deaths and injuries of Toyota drivers and their family members and contained within four mysterious boxes of documents that ex-Toyota lawyer Dimitrios Biller personally delivered to a Texas federal courthouse. Upon receipt, a federal judge issued an order for the boxes to be secured in a criminal fraud case, forbidding Toyota from touching them without "proper supervision."

Biller says that while working for Toyota, defending safety-related lawsuits brought against the automotive giant between 2003 to 2007, he found out that Toyota was concealing and destroying evidence it was required by law to keep and turn over and his supervisors ignored his complaints and alarms. Biller is quoted by Law.com as saying that "Key Toyota executives have conspired, and continue to conspire, to unlawfully withhold evidence from plaintiffs and obstruct justice in lawsuits throughout the United States."

Right now the media is focused on the recall mess but when they start digging deeper into Toyota, things could really get bad for the company.

It's no wonder thousands of consumers are wondering if they can trust Toyota's claim that it has suddenly, in the space of a single week, miraculously found the "fix" for the sudden acceleration gas pedal defect. At least one other has just said, perhaps with tongue in cheek, "it's just amazing what a good engineer can do when he puts his mind to it!"

If you've got a recalled Toyota, be careful out there. If you're from Ohio or Kentucky, you're not alone. If you're happy with your Toyota and how you've been treated, that's great. If not, there is something you can do about it. You may be entitled to make them buy your car back or get compensation.

Call us on our Toll Free number, 1.888.331.6422, or our direct dial number, 1.937.432.9500, or email us right now for a free case review at Susan@OhioLemonLaw.com. Getting rid of lemons is what we do. Every day. Since 1978.

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Known nationwide as a leading Lemon Law attorney, Ronald L. Burdge has represented literally thousands of consumers in "lemon" lawsuits and actively co-counsels and coaches other Consumer Law attorneys. From 2005 through 2018, attorney Ronald L. Burdge has been named as the only Lemon Law Ohio Super Lawyer by Law and Politics magazine and Thomson Reuters Corp., Professional Division. Burdge restricts his practice to Lemon Law and Consumer Law cases. The Ohio Super Lawyer results are published annually in the January issue of Cincinnati Magazine. Ronald L. Burdge was named Consumer Law Trial Lawyer of the Year 2004 by the National Association of Consumer Advocates, the nation's largest organization of consumer law private and government attorneys. "Your impact on the auto industry has been magnified many times over because of the trail you blazed for others," stated NACA's Executive Director, Will Ogburn. Burdge has represented thousands of consumers in Ohio, Kentucky and elsewhere since 1978 and is a frequent lecturer to national, state and local Bar Associations and Judicial organizations. Burdge is admitted to Ohio's state and federal courts, Kentucky's state courts, and Indiana's federal courts. Other court admissions are on a "pro hac" temporary, case by cases basis.