Unsafe Product Concealment: The Toyota Case
One of the dirty little secrets that is not mentioned by tort reform advocates is that major corporations will, sometimes, conceal safety related issues from the public because revealing them might create significant liability. Whether Toyota is guilty of this type of dangerous design defect concealment is the subject of an interesting lawsuit between Toyota and one of its former managing counsel.
In his lawsuit, attorney Dimitrios Biller alleges that Toyota forced him, over a period of several years, to withhold information regarding rollover accidents causing injury or death, depriving victims of information that would prompt them to commence litigation or pursue already commenced litigation to improved conclusions. The allegations, if true, could result in the reopening of over 300 hundred substandard roof cases over the past two decades and/or the filing of cases that could have been pursued and weren't.
Toyota, of course, calls Biller's statements "inaccurate and misleading," and, further, calls him a "disgruntled employee" retaliating for a forced resignation. However, if the allegations are proven to be true, in court, Toyota is looking at the beginning of a financial nightmare. The vehicles at issues are popular sport utility vehicles like the Toyota 4Runner. According to Biller, who defended the company in many such lawsuits, Toyota concealed National Highway Traffic Safety Administration information that these vehicles were prone to rollover accidents and had weak roofs which lead to thousands of serious injuries and deaths.
Tab Turner, an Arkansas attorney who represented a pregnant woman and her fetus who were both brain damaged as the result of a 4Runner rollover accident agrees that the allegations, if proven, will call into question all of the settlements, verdicts and judgments which involved these vehicles
Biller received to a $3.7 Million severance package when he left Toyota; he alleges that he was harassed and intimidated by Toyota management and was treated for psychiatric problems resulting from this conduct. Toyota claims that the severance agreement prevents Biller from discussing or disclosing company information and that he has now violated that agreement. Since he was an attorney for the company, there may also be attorney-client privilege or confidentiality issues involved with the presentation of these allegations in the new litigation.
Lawsuit Financial would not be surprised if the allegations made by Mr. Biller were true. Corporate defendants have long practiced these types of 'delay, deny, confuse and refuse' tactics; the deliberate and/or fraudulent concealment of vital information when requested by the plaintiff is, most likely, more common than we realize. Lawsuits like Mr. Biller's are important public alerts to vital safety issues and the probability that fear of expensive, multiple, litigation may lead to concealment of unsafe products.
Lawsuit Financial strongly advises all consumers to use all investigatory tools available on the internet or print/broadcast media, from consumer protection advocacy groups or publications, from safety advocacy groups, and from national or local trial lawyer associations. An educated consumer is more often a safer consumer. When purchasing a potentially dangerous product from a company, don't take the company's word for its' safety; do your homework. You'll be glad you did.
If you have been seriously injured and need an attorney in your area who specializes in the type of incident causing your injury, please consider calling Lawsuit Financial and taking advantage of our free attorney referral service. If you already have an attorney and need lawsuit funding to help pay household bills, medical expenses, mortgage payments, utility bills or any other important expense, Lawsuit Financial is here to assist you in your time of need. The call to 1-877-377-SUIT (7848) is free; the advice is priceless.