Toyota Motor (TM) is currently fighting for its brand. Will it soon be fighting for its very life?
Who may hold the key to Toyota’s future? Let’s meet Dimitrios Biller.
Corporate Counsel’s Law.com reports, Sorry, They’re Staying in the Boxes: Ex-Toyota Lawyer Can’t Release Docs:
Woof! 2010 has been a real stinker of a year for Toyota Motor Sales USA Inc.
But Thursday actually yielded good news on one of the massive slew of lawsuits that plaintiffs have crashed into the automaker.
Toyota won a temporary ruling against Dimitrios Biller, their former national managing counsel in charge of defending litigation brought in rollover accidents from 2003 to 2007, who says he has about 6,000 confidential documents that prove the company hid evidence in several rollover lawsuits.
These are, incidentally, the same four boxes of documents that plaintiffs’ lawyer Todd Tracy said in December didn’t contain a “shred of evidence.”
Biller can’t release the documents, an arbitrator ruled, but he won’t have to fork them over to Toyota or give an inventory of them as lawyers for the automaker wanted.
Toyota contends that if their former in-house lawyer reveals any of the documents he will violate his $3.7 million severance deal.
Toyota is fighting to keep these documents sealed under the premise of attorney-client privilege (Toyota being the client, Biller the attorney). Additionally, Toyota has and will likely continue to try to paint Biller as a disgruntled former employee.
Ultimately, though, this situation is not about Biller. It is about those unfortunate souls who lost their lives driving Toyota vehicles. Those individuals and families deserve to have these documents released.
As for Toyota, they took the greatest risk – reputation risk – and now they have to live with it.
Would you go out now and buy a Toyota?