Ex-Toyota Lawyer Accuses Automaker of Destroying Rollover Evidence

Robert Farago
by Robert Farago

According to CBS News, an ex-lawyer for Toyota of North America has filed a racketeering suit against his former employer. ToMoCo’s former managing counsel Dimitrios P. Biller accused the automaker of illegally withholding evidence in hundreds of rollover death and injury cases, in a “ruthless conspiracy” to suppress evidence of its vehicles “structural shortcomings.” Further, “Biller’s 75-page complaint [ download pdf here] says that when he came to Toyota after nearly 15 years in private practice, he was ‘surprised and alarmed’ to discover that the company was not producing e-mails and other electronically stored information to plaintiffs as he said was required. According to the lawsuit, Biller repeatedly complained to supervisors that the company was illegally withholding evidence. The lawsuit further states that the resulting conflicts ultimately caused Biller to suffer a mental breakdown and led to his forced resignation in September 2007. He left with a $3.7 million severance agreement, court records show.” [thanks to Dennis for the link]

Robert Farago
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  • ChuckR ChuckR on Aug 31, 2009

    Early in the 20th century, Henry Ford paid his workers an outlandish daily wage. He needed them not only to build his unsafe at any speed Model T, but also to purchase and use it. The level of risk using automobiles was apparently acceptable and became much lower in the next century of refinements. Corporations depend on not killing people (Lockheed-Martin and General Dynamics excepted) - difficult to sell product in graveyards. Compare and contrast to governments, who, by some accounts, in aggregate killed 280 million of their own people last century. Let's see whether Toyota's failure was one of not meeting their own high standards or something more nefarious. As for saving every email, every piece of paper, every thought, only the law industry can make product and make money doing that. A reasonable level of documentation and paper trail is necessary, but if I can't produce a piece of paper or an e-document, the lawyers will yell spoliation even if it never existed. Damned no matter what.

  • Mikey Mikey on Aug 31, 2009

    @ chuckR Henry got tired of retraining people. Ol'e Hank figured five bucks a day was a better plan. Think of it as a retention bonus, minus a few zeros.

  • Njdave Njdave on Aug 31, 2009

    +1 to Ronnie Schreiber. The worst liars are those class action lawsuit lawyers always advertising on TV. I know - I was a plaintiff in one of those suits. It was about a stock I bought when the CEO & CFO cooked the books. I lost thousands and after "my" lawyer won a lawsuit for "me", I got 23 dollars. The lawyer got 16 million dollars. Yep, that lawyer was really looking out for us small investors doing his utmost to protect our interests. He was worse than the CEO and CFO of the company that took my money and thousands of other peoples money too. At least they were just crooks, they didn't pretend to be helping me. To be fair even though I don't want to be fair, at least I didn't have to do anything but sign my name for the 23 bucks. They found me, mailed me a letter and a form already filled in. I just had to sign it and send it back to get my windfall. Lawyers rarely help society, and the lawyers in congress and the senate write legislation so arcane that only other lawyers can understand it, so that only extremely wealthy people who can afford the best tax attorneys can benefit. Congress writes a bill that lets them claim that they are only taxing the rich, but they add loopholes that only the rich with tax attorneys can afford to take advantage of (and congress members themselves, of course). Then the middle class ends up paying big when the tax on "the rich" doesn't raise the revenue they predicted. And people keep falling for that scam, over and over. They are falling for it again right now.

  • DearS DearS on Sep 01, 2009

    My friend was telling me about putting his 4runner on two wheels the other day. I've been scared of SUVs for a long time, and I intend to be careful driving them fast. The Fat tires on my moms skinny Montero sport scare me a bit, so I'll be careful with that first.