Report: Toyota 'whistleblower' documents trouble House panel

And the saga continues. According to House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Ed Towns (D-N.Y.), documents obtained by the committee under subpoena from Dimitrios Biller – managing counsel in the product liability group of Toyota Motor Sales USA from April 2003 to September 2007 – "indicate Toyota deliberately withheld records that it was legally required to produce in response to discovery orders in litigation."

Towns further says that many such documents "concern 'rollover' cases in which a driver or passenger was injured, including cases where victims were paralyzed." In a letter sent to Yoshimi Inaba, president of Toyota's operations in North America, Towns wrote:
In sum, the Biller documents indicate a systematic disregard for the law and routine violation of court discovery orders in litigation. People injured in crashes involving Toyota vehicles may have been injured a second time when Toyota failed to produce relevant evidence in court... Moreover, this also raises very serious questions as to whether Toyota has also withheld substantial, relevant information from NHTSA.
It has also come out that Toyota keeps so-called "Books of Knowledge" containing information from Toyota engineers on internal design and testing data. So closely held was this information that the automaker supposedly agreed to multimillion-dollar civic settlements to safeguard the data. Serious charges indeed, and Towns has given Toyota until Friday, March 12th, to respond.

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[Source: The Detroit News | Image: Kazuhiro Nogi/AFP/Getty]

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