By on January 5, 2011

The story of Dimitrios Biller has been one of the more colorful sideshows in last year’s media-scourging of Toyota, complete with a “book of secrets,” accusations of corporate criminality, counter-accusations of mental instability and a congressional pissing match. But with the Toyota media circus long gone, it now seems that l’affaire Biller was just another distraction from the mundane truth of the unintended acceleration scare. As the Detroit News reports, Biller and Toyota’s legal struggle is over… and Toyota, not Biller, is going to get paid.

Biller, a California attorney who worked at Toyota Motor Sales USA for four years, from 2003 to 2007, and Toyota had agreed to have their disputes settled by binding arbitration, which limits the grounds for appeal.

Biller had sued Toyota for defamation and fraud, while Toyota had sued him for violating confidentiality and severance agreements.

Gary Taylor, a retired judge serving as the arbitrator, concluded in a final award that Toyota should receive $2.5 million in damages from Biller for 10 disclosure violations, plus $100,000 in punitive damages.

“The evidence showed that Toyota suffered, and will continue to suffer, multiple harms from Mr. Biller’s contract breaches,” Judge Taylor wrote.

He also ordered Biller to return documents, including attorney-client documents, he’d taken from Toyota and allow the company to inspect his computers.

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12 Comments on “Toyota Whistleblower Dimitrios Biller Slapped With $2.6m Judgement...”


  • avatar
    gslippy

    His video claim that Toyota ignores American laws is ridiculous.  All Toyotas sold in the US meet US safety regulations.  The internal discussions of a manufacturer about its products and testing do not necessarily reflect upon the quality of the product it ultimately produces.

    • 0 avatar
      Steven02

      His claim isn’t about passing US safety regulations.  It is about turning over evidence in courtrooms, which if true, is a violation of US laws.

    • 0 avatar
      gslippy

      @Steven02: He states clearly between 1:00 and 1:35 that none of Toyota’s cars passed roof clearance regulations, and in the last 40 seconds talks about Toyota abiding by its own laws.  He seemed to be referring to car regulations as much as legal evidence requirements.

  • avatar
    RGS920

    I am unfamiliar with California’s rules of professional responsability. So I can’t comment on what he ethically should have done in California (Although I bet releasing client information to the media is not the way it’s done even in California!)  Had he been general counsel in the state where I practice, his ethical obligations are straight forward:  As soon as he discovered that Toyota was shredding documents he should have went to the CFO or Chief Legal Officer and reported what had happened.  If management failed to promptly take care of the problem then his next stop would have been to the board of directors.  If the Board refused to take action he would be ethically required to withdraw as general counsel.  If he believed there was an ongoing fraud relating to the sale of equity he would also be ethically obligated to report this to SEC.    He should have never EVER revealed privileged information to the media or stole his client’s property.  If he did this in the state I practiced he would almost certainly be disbarred. 

  • avatar

    Way to go. And he was smearing true whistleblowers too.

  • avatar
    NormSV650

    So the evidence is gone because of violating confidentiality and severance agreements? I want to know the truth! I could see it go the same way as other internal documents showing how much money they saved avoiding recalls.

  • avatar
    forraymond

    WOW, that slope is slippery and getting more so…
     
    Didn’t Lenin talk about “useful idiots?”  I think this judge may fit that description.

  • avatar
    Crosley

    Some how I doubt this guy will be hauled in front of congressional hearings for a media circus.

  • avatar
    RogerB34

    ” Biller was just another distraction from the mundane truth of the unintended acceleration scare.”
    Back that statement with not mundane facts pls.

  • avatar
    ihatetrees

    I’m sure this will get prompt and wide coverage in the auto sections of the Detroit (so-called) News and Washington Post…

  • avatar
    jpolicke

    Somebody needs to slap this guy for his “Toyota gave me emotional damage” whining. Last time I heard, Lincoln freed the slaves. His ethical distress didn’t keep him from staying there and taking their tainted money.


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