AP: In Toyota Lawsuits, Evasion Becomes Tactic
MIAMI (AP) -- Toyota has routinely engaged in questionable, evasive and deceptive legal tactics when sued, frequently claiming it does not have information it is required to turn over and sometimes even ignoring court orders to produce key documents, an Associated Press investigation shows.
In a review of lawsuits filed around the country involving a wide range of complaints -- not just the sudden acceleration problems that have led to millions of Toyotas being recalled -- the automaker has hidden the existence of tests that would be harmful to its legal position and claimed key material was difficult to get at its headquarters in Japan. It has withheld potentially damaging documents and refused to release data stored electronically in its vehicles.
For example, in a Colorado product liability lawsuit filed by a man whose young daughter was killed in a 4Runner rollover crash, Toyota withheld documents about internal roof strength tests despite a federal judge's order that such information be produced, according to court records. The attorneys for Jon Kurylowicz now say such documents might have changed the outcome of the case, which ended in a 2005 jury verdict for Toyota.
"Mr. Kurylowicz went to trial without having been given all the relevant evidence and all the evidence the court ordered Toyota to produce," attorney Stuart Ollanik wrote in a new federal lawsuit accusing Toyota of fraud in the earlier case. "The Kurylowicz trial was not a fair trial."
QuoteapIn another case involving a Texas woman killed when her Toyota Land Cruiser lurched backward and pinned her against a garage wall, the Japanese automaker told lawyers for the woman's family it was unaware of any similar cases. Yet less than a year earlier, Toyota had settled a nearly identical lawsuit in the same state involving a Baptist minister who was severely injured after he said his Land Cruiser abruptly rolled backward over him. Under court discovery rules, Toyota had an obligation to inform the woman's attorneys about the case when formally asked.
The rest of the story can be found here. Just another example of corporate greed and bullying tactics as far as I can tell... Over seas companies have no incentive to keep them from abusing our legal system to their own advantages, that is why I think good trade laws are a requirement, and a "service fund" to cover any product liability suits brought against them (especially for China's companies)