By on March 1, 2010

Tomorrow the Senate will be taking its shot at the Toyota scandal, with hearings scheduled before the Committee on Commerce, Science & Transportation. Giving testimony will be three Toyota executives including Yoshimi Inaba, NHTSA Administrator David Strickland and Clarence Ditlow of the Ralph Nader-founded Center for Auto Safety. Conspicuously absent from the list is Dimitrios Biller, the former Toyota lawyer who claims that Toyota hid documents related to vehicle design from discovery in several suits against the automaker. The House Oversight Committee has reviewed a number of Toyota communications courtesy of Biller, and a letter from chairman Ed Towns (D-NY) demands that Toyota answer Biller’s charges [Towns' letter and Biller documents in PDF format here, courtesy of DetNews]. By invoking Biller’s charges, Towns has dragged yet another witness into the fray whose story raises more questions than it answers [one of Biller's several suits against Toyota can be found here.] And yet, probably because of his complex backstory] there are no plans for Biller to testify under oath before congress. Should he, or does his testimony just cloud the picture even further?

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11 Comments on “Ask The Best & Brightest: Should Dimitrios Biller Testify Before Congress?...”


  • avatar
    JohnAZ

    There is no doubt in my mind that he would get the same treatment at the hands of the Senators from states with Toyota plants that Dr. Gilbert received. Whether he should testify depends on whether you want to hear the information he has reported, or hear him get beat up personally by the Toyota defenders. I prefer to hear the former.

  • avatar
    gslippy

    Rather than spend our tax dollars with further grandstanding, maybe the Senate should direct Mr. Biller to testify in a court of law should a prosecutor wish to hear from him.

    Otherwise, I’d like to see testimony from the 99,995 out of 100,000 Toyota customers who didn’t complain about UA.

  • avatar
    210delray

    I’ll volunteer for the latter.

    I think Biller is a loose cannon and a disgruntled former employee. Good idea, gslippy, have him testify in court if a prosecutor wants to hear from him.

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      That already happened, and the prosecutor in that case (a state AG, I believe) decided that Biller’s information wasn’t reliable enough for trial.

      Specifically, what Biller said he had was not what he was able to produce for the AG and the court, nor did it agree with the copies of the same documents at Toyota.

      Or, in other words, Biller lied about the evidence he did have.

      Add that to the gross violation of attorney-client privilege and his chastisement by the bar, as well as his immediate, post-Toyota work in setting up what amounts to a One-Stop-Toyota-Lawsuit-Shop, it would be problematic at the least to call him up before the Senate. Or rather, it would be if we were dealing with facts and not grandstanding.

    • 0 avatar
      baldheadeddork

      @psarhjinian

      There was no attorney general, no prosecutor, and no hearing on the veracity of Biller’s claims, let alone a ruling that he was lying.

      Here’s what happened:

      A lawyer who had represented the victim in a 4Runner roll-over case heard about Biller’s claims and went back into court, asking to have the case reopened because Toyota may have withheld documents. Toyota responded that only documents held by Biller pertaining to this case should be open to review by the plaintiff’s lawyer, and the judge agreed. Toyota also filed a motion with the Texas Supreme Court asking for an injunction against Biller testifying in court, because he was not involved with this case when it was tried. The court agreed.

      I’ve been critical of Toyota, but the judge and the court made the right rulings. Toyota didn’t withhold documents in this case, and since Biller wasn’t involved he didn’t have anything to testify about.

  • avatar
    John Horner

    I’m less interested in what he has to say than I am in what the documents he supposedly has show. So, without reviewing said documents I don’t have a view on whether he should be asked to testify.

    If the documents clearly back up the charges he has been making then, yes, call ‘em in!

  • avatar
    CatFan78

    I believe a plantiffs attorney in Texas dropped an attempt to reopen a case against Toyota when the Attorney looked at the Biller documents. According to the plantiffs attorney, Biller didn’t have anything that helped their case. Also, didn’t Biller sue the city of LA after working there 6 months? I think it was after he left Toyota. Sounds like he is just suing all his former employers.

  • avatar
    JSF22

    Biller is clearly a wack job, but it still sounds like he has some good dirt on Toyota, and how much less reliable a witness than Clarence Ditlow could he possibly be?

  • avatar
    ClutchCarGo

    Why would anyone ever hire an attorney named Biller?

  • avatar
    crash sled

    Well, this guy is clearly mentally unstable, so he’s not credible, even before reviewing his litigative history.

    Second, the example he provided here, about Toyota’s response to head impact criteria, is indicative of this guy’s ignorance of the product development process, across the industry. When HIC became the attribute du jour, mid-decade or so, after Ford’s Exploder fiasco, they ALL jumped around, and began reviewing their past sins, and addressing them. Toyota wasn’t alone in that regard, you may depend. Did they cover up or downplay their past sins? I suppose they did, as did the rest. You don’t stack sheet metal on top of a truck frame and not expect it to flip over and injure people. So, we wound up addressing this across the industry, with TPMS for one, and roll stability control, structural enhancements and other means.

    I’m sure Toyota downplayed their past and moved forward with the present, just as they all did. Biller doesn’t understand this process, and so it’s hard to see what he’d provide that’s beneficial. Let him go to court with his stuff, no need to waste any more time with an ignorant kook.


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