Automotive News is reporting that "preliminary evidence shows that Toyota Motor Corp. hired a lawyer to destroy or hide incriminating safety documents from vehicle owners who sued the company according to the ruling from an arbitrator.
The former Toyota attorney, Dimitrios Biller, gives safety advocates new cause for alarm over what Biller has already said was a practice of hiding the truth at Toyota in lawsuits filed by injured consumers and dangerous Toyota vehicles. We alerted folks about that before on this blog.
Critical for consumer advocates, the ruling means that Toyota can't claim the internal documents Biller has been talking about are covered by "attorney client privilege." And that means the evidence can't be kept hidden by Toyota any longer.
Biller resigned from Toyota and was paid a hefty $3.7 million severance package that reportedly including keeping his knowledge secret about what Toyota's litigation tactics and strategies had been. Part of that included the so-called "Books of Knowledge" that Toyota kept, which were reportedly a collection of sensitive electronic records about design, testing and performance of Toyota vehicles. Withholding the "Books" from consumer lawyers enabled Toyota to avoid paying much larger damage awards to consumers injured in Toyota accidents, their former attorney, Biller, has claimed.
It seems that some consumer advocates are not surprised at Toyota's secrets, and perhaps the real surprise is Biller's integrity and conscience.
Meanwhile, the sudden accelleration cases continue to trod forward in California's federal court system while Biller slugs it out with Toyota. The California consumer cases may be the beneficiary of Biller's evidence coming to light, much to the dislike of Toyota.
Frankly, Biller deserves huge applause for allowing his conscience to get the better of Toyota's dollars.