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Documents Will Remain Unsealed In Toyota Rollover Related Litigation

Posted by Jane Akre
Monday, September 21, 2009 10:41 PM EST
Category: Protecting Your Family
Tags: Toyota, Rollovers, SUV, Roof Crush, Traumatic Brain Injury, Automakers

Documents will remain unsealed in a werongful termination suit that accuses Toyota of hiding evidence in 300 rollover cases.

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* Center for Auto Safety Web site

IMAGE SOURCE: Litigation Discovery and Trial Consulting Website

15 Lawsuits Reopened

Documents that allege Toyota hid and destroyed evidence in numerous rollover lawsuits will stay open and not be sealed.

That ruling by a federal judge in Los Angeles is the latest in the wrongful termination lawsuit filed by a former Toyota lawyer, Dimitrios P. Biller, who says he was fired from the company after refusing to hide electronic documents at the direction of the company.

The ruling by U.S. District Judge George King has the potential to reopen 300 lawsuits brought against Toyota by rollover accident victims.

"Defendant argues it will suffer further harm if we do not seal the complaint," U.S. District Judge George H. King wrote. "However, plaintiffs' complaint is now irreversibly in the public domain, as it is readily available on the Internet. Therefore, sealing the complaint would be futile at this point."

A one-time managing counsel for Toyota from 2003 to 2007, Biller brought a lawsuit against the company alleging he was wrongfully terminated after he objected when the company allegedly destroyed and hid evidence in rollover litigation which it was ”ethically and legally obligated to turn over.”

Biller’s job was to handle electronic documents related to some 300 rollover cases of SUVs and trucks, many of which resulted in roof crush injuries such as traumatic brain injury. Biller has accused the company of inflicting emotion distress on him while it was committing “criminal acts” in the rollover litigation.

He says that in at least two cases, one in Colorado and one in Texas, Toyota defied court orders requiring it to fully disclose important emails and other electronic data.

He says the company violated the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO).

"For years, Defendants Toyota Motor Corporation, its United States subsidiaries, and key Toyota executives, have conspired, and continue to conspire, to unlawfully withhold evidence from plaintiffs and obstruct justice in lawsuits throughout the United States against Toyota," Biller's complaint says. "Many of the plaintiffs in these lawsuits sustained catastrophic and fatal injuries in rollover accidents involving Toyota vehicles."

Biller says he suffered a mental breakdown after he was forced to resign over the evidence issue. A former partner in a law firm, he received a $3.7 million severance. He now ruls a legal consulting company, LTD Consulting.

This is the second time Toyota has twice to seal documents in the case, arguing that Biller is driven by his own selfish financial interest and a desire to destroy Toyota.

Clarence Ditlow, executive director of the Center for Auto Safety, a consumer advocacy group in Washington, tells the Los Angeles Times that if what Biller says is true, the financial repercussions for Toyota could be massive.

"The allegations are very serious," Ditlow said. "The bottom line is that Toyota has a mess on its hands."

Biller now runs Litigation Discovery and Trial Consulting in California.

A Dallas lawyer is already planning on reopening 15 lawsuits as a result of Biller’s information. #


2 Comments

Posted by Rick Shapiro
Monday, September 21, 2009 11:00 PM EST

Jane:
What a huge story from several vantage points: Toyota fosters an advertising image of a great company, with cutting edge technology, and quality products but their former defense counsel was ordered to obstruct justice, commit fraud on plaintiffs, juries and Judges and finally REFUSED TO DO SO.
And lets give a shout out for Dimitrios P. Biller, a lawyer that (if his allegations are true) stood up to corporate henchman that told him to perpetuate fraud. He refused knowing it would probably wreck his career, but he will be a hero in the end.
In railroad injury litigation I handle, there have been numerous instances where we believe that certain defendants I will not name did not produce relevant evidence, and in some occupational diesase litigation, the co's fear multiple plaintiff lawsuits, just like Totota feared here.
We have a justice system and evidence rules that create a level playing field but only when all the parties follow the rules and do not commit fraud on the courts.

Anonymous User
Posted by Robert Riggs Representing Todd Tracy Law Firm
Tuesday, September 22, 2009 3:49 PM EST

The Eastern District of Texas has become ground zero for reopening Toyota cases in the wake of Biller's allegations.
You can read more at this link:
LINK

Comments for this article are closed.

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