All the PR work in the world may not be able to save Toyota, as a former ToMoCo lawyer has made it known that the company is in possession of certain documents that show that it has destroyed legal evidence concerning SUV rollover accidents. As would be expected, the House Oversight Committee issued a subpoena for said records to include them in its investigation into the reported unintended acceleration problems on certain Toyota and Lexus vehicles. Toyota President Akio Toyoda agreed yesterday to testify before the committee on Feb 24.
The subpoena was issued to Dimitrios Biller, a former Toyota lawyer based out of the company”s North American headquarters who had handled rollover cases between 2003 and 2007. Toyota had won a temporary injunction from a court-appointed arbitrator barring Biller from releasing the documents. Biller”s attorney said that he intends to fully comply with the subpoena, and ship the documents as per committee instructions by the Feb. 23 deadline. Mr. Biller is in possession of about 6,000 documents.
Toyota sued Billings after he left the company for his alleged divulsion of confidential information; they seek $33.5 million in damages. Billings in turn filed a racketeering suit alleging Toyota destroyed engineering and testing evidence related to more than 300 rollover suits.
-By: Stephen Calogera
Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required)