We knew this was coming. When one time Toyota lawyer Dimitrios Biller filed a federal racketeering suit alleging that the Japanese automaker withheld evidence in several rollover suits, it was pretty obvious that lawyers would want to reopen past suits in light of the claims. Biller's suit alleges that Toyota withheld electronic evidence (emails) in over 300 rollover cases, and it states that evidence was destroyed by the company in spite of his efforts to secure the data. The suit also alleges that Toyota withheld design and test data for vehicle roofs, and that some vehicles on the road today don't meet roof safety standards.
Texas attorney Todd Tracy appears to be the fist to jump in, as he is reportedly planning to refile 15 rollover, frontal-impact and rear-impact suits against Toyota. Tracy told Automotive News that many past suits will come into question again if Biller's allegations turn out to be true, and he plans to re-file his six-year-old lawsuits, adding that he couldn't imagine Biller making up very specific facts "without having some ammo backing him up." Tracy actually opposed Biller in several Toyota cases, too, so he knows something about the lawyer and his work with Toyota.

Toyota has released a brief release (after the jump) addressing the issue, and spokesman Mike Michels says the company is mainly concerned with what it calls a breach of attorney-client privilege. Toyota added in a court filing that Biller, "intends to use this action as an excuse and new avenue for gaining some perceived leverage against [Toyota]." Toyota also added in its filing that Biller has tried on several occasions to reveal the company's private information. Toyota is currently trying to seal the contents of Biller's suit, though the documents are still public.

[Source: Automotive News - Sub. Req. | Image Source: Justin Sullivan/Getty]

PRESS RELEASE

Toyota Responds to PAICE ITC Filing

Statement from Toyota:

PAICE has been pursuing patent litigation against Toyota for several years in the U.S. District Court in Texas. It has already presented its claims to a Texas jury. After trial, the District Court denied PAICE's request for an injunction barring sale of hybrids. PAICE apparently seeks to bypass the District Court ruling by asking the International Trade Commission (ITC) to exclude the importation of Toyota hybrids.

Toyota itself has many patents on the hybrid technology and believes that it has strong defenses against all of PAICE's claims and that it will prevail in the ITC proceeding.

Due to the pending litigation, we are unable to comment further.


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