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The latest news in the Toyota investigation? Alleged hidden documents and Toyota's secret "Books of Knowledge."
Toyota Motor Corp has allegedly withheld internal company documents in past court cases --documents which if hidden, could have been extremely incriminating for the automotive giant.
According to the Chairman of a U.S. House committee investigating the motor company, Toyota engaged in "systematic disregard for the law."
These accusations come in light of the current investigations by Congress into Toyota's alleged safety defects, which promoted two major recalls over the past year. The documents were subpoenaed by Congress from Dimitrios Biller, a former Toyota attorney who has been fighting a legal battle against Toyota for several years, since his employment was terminated at the company.
(For a look at the subpoena, see this post in FindLaw's CourtSide.)
Biller has cried about Toyota's alleged obstruction of justice for years, where he claims that he was unjustly terminated for asking Toyota to turn over the information relating to design flaws when asked for it by the opposing personal injury attorneys in lawsuits. He claims that Toyota knew, for a very long time, that there were acceleration problems with some vehicles.
Not only did Toyota fail to turn over the documents in the discovery phase of litigation, but they also hid the information in Toyota's secret "Books of Knowledge," according to Biller.
Essentially, once a lawsuit is filed, the parties need to prepare for the case and thus, the attorneys on both sides ask for information from the other party, in an attempt to build the case. Although some information falls under protected privilege, information that does not meet a privilege, and that is reasonably related to the matters at hand, must be disclosed. Any failure to do so would be an obstruction of justice and could result in sanctions by the judge.
Biller also claims that Toyota would enter into multi-million dollar settlements if it seemed like the plaintiff's attorneys were close to discovering Toyota's secret "Books of Knowledge."