Following recent allegations that important safety information involving Toyota rollover accidents was withheld or destroyed, several attorneys are attempting to reopen cases against the automaker.
Courts will be asked to reopen at least 17 Toyota product liability lawsuits, and up to 300 cases could have been impacted by the information that plaintiffs lawyers will argue should have been disclosed, according to a report by USA Today.
The allegations of fraud and racketeering come after attorney Dimitrios Biller, a former lead defense counsel for Toyota Motor Corp., filed a lawsuit alleging that Toyota officials knowingly withheld evidence in a number of product liability lawsuits in which he represented the company. Biller alleged that the company lied about crash safety data and convinced engineers to lie on the witness stand.
According to USA Today, an attorney in California filed to reopen two cases last week and a Dallas attorney plans to file today to reopen 15 Toyota rollover accident lawsuits. Other product liability lawyers throughout the country are also considering requests to reopen cases.
Biller was a former managing counsel for Toyota Motor Sales, USA Inc. from 2003 to 2007, and was in charge of Toyota’s National Rollover Program. According to the lawsuit, which was first reported by CBS News on August 29, Biller claims to have lost his job after repeatedly confronting Toyota officials about the illegally withheld evidence in rollover lawsuits. Biller alleged that he was told repeatedly by Toyota executives that they had no intention of turning over the requested evidence.
Toyota has filed a motion to seal the complaint, alleging that it contains privileged information. They also labeled the claims made by Biller as “inaccurate and misleading.”