Rollover: Former Toyota Lawyer Accuses Company of Destroying Evidence of Rollover Problems

credentails_1250px-Toyota.svgAttorney Dimitrios Biller was the former managing counsel for Toyota Motor Sales USA and handled rollover cases for the company. He has now done a rollover of his own — accusing the car manufacturer of destroying evidence of rollover in a “ruthless conspiracy” to hide dangers.

Toyota has faced recalls and allegations of injuries due to rollover questions, here.

Biller alleges that he was pushed to a breakdown by the company and eventually fired for his opposition to the practices. Biller was an associate and partner at Pillsbury Winthrop for 14 years before joining Toyota. Much of the allegations concerns vehicle roofs and he alleges that he repeatedly tried to get Toyota executives to turn over evidence, including the company’s in-house counsel.
He was ultimately given $3.7 million in severance and the company is accusing him of serious ethical breaches.

His website states:

Mr. Biller also served as the National Managing Counsel in charge of the National Rollover Program at Toyota for four and a half years. While Managing Counsel Mr. Biller supervised dozens of lawyers throughout the United States with a variety of skill sets inside the courtroom during trial and before trial in the discovery process. Mr. Biller took a hands on approach to managing cases under his supervision because he took an aggressive position on settlement negotiations and forced many cases to trial for global reasons. In a 36 month period, Mr. Biller managed 12 sophisticated and catastrophic cases to trial, and obtained defense verdicts in all those cases.

Here is the lawsuit: Toyota_suit

For the full story, click here.

10 thoughts on “Rollover: Former Toyota Lawyer Accuses Company of Destroying Evidence of Rollover Problems”

  1. I have sympathy for neither party. If the allegations prove true, Mr. Biller has tacitly admitted to ethical violations and immorality on a breathtaking scale in the service to his Mephistophelean corporation . If the allegations prove false, Mr. Biller is both an opportunist and a cad. I see no winners here at all–any many losers in the persons of the Plaintiffs for whom justice was nefariously denied.

  2. Mike A,

    Company lawyers have not filed an answer to Biller’s lawsuit, but have brought a motion to seal the complaint, claiming it is “rife with privileged and confidential information” that Biller, as a former Toyota lawyer, has no right to divulge.

    A hearing on the motion has been set for September 14.

    Biller, who did not return phone calls, worked for Toyota Motor Sales, based in Torrance, Calif., from 2003 to 2007. He was involved in defending rollover lawsuits that blamed injuries and deaths on instability and weak roofs of the company’s SUVs and pickups. Along with Toyota Motor Sales and Japanese parent Toyota Motor Corp., his suit names five senior executives and lawyers of Motor Sales. The case was filed July 24 in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles, but has not been publicized until now.

    Biller’s 75-page complaint says that when he came to Toyota after nearly 15 years in private practice, he was “surprised and alarmed” to discover that the company was not producing e-mails and other electronically stored information to plaintiffs as he said was required. According to the lawsuit, Biller repeatedly complained to supervisors that the company was illegally withholding evidence.

    The lawsuit further states that the resulting conflicts ultimately caused Biller to suffer a mental breakdown and led to his forced resignation in September 2007. He left with a $3.7 million severance agreement, court records show.

    This above is out of the article. Apparently he wanted to. I hope the Judge denies the Motion, if he does then, I believe that the ABA Rules of Professional Responsibility says that he cannot divulge this information. He must seek to withdraw or some stuff like that. I then think that a Complaint with the Bar would be upheld. But hell this is California, so what would you expect?

  3. If Mr. Biller was actively engaged in covering up the spoliation of evidence, regardless of whether he privately objected to his employer, someone is going to seek to reopen some of those defense verdicts on the grounds that Toyota and its counsel engaged in fraud on the court. In that event, Mr. Biller might also be exposed to bar disciplinary proceedings. Did he find a conscience only after he had received the $3.7 million severance package?

  4. Manufacture them in Michigan and the Total Liability is 280K. What a world what a country, an attorney with some degree of ethics. Now do they want the 3.7 million back?

    Not a chance in Hell.

  5. puzzling,

    Your question is similar to the drug companies claiming that once the FDA approved their drug for the market, they were free and clear of all liability. The drug companies lost this at the SC., so I would say the car companies would also be liable (but one of the attys. would be the best person to answer your question),

    If Toyota is not following the rules of discovery in addition to destroying evidence, both of these actions are themselves illegal.

  6. I can’t speak to Toyota’s conduct, so I won’t.

    When it comes to defective products, should the makers of the Mini Cooper be liable for injuries or deaths since their cars have triple the fatal injury rate of large sedans?

    Is any auto manufacturer responsible for fatalities that result because of government size and weight standards?

    Electronic stability control (ESC) was first put on cars in 1995. Does any rollover in a vehicle without ESC put the manufacturer at risk for liability if they did not equip it with this feature? What if ESC was an option and the consumer chose not to buy it?

    Many cars now have side radar to prevent accidents during lane changes. Are automakers who don’t offer this feature selling a defective product? Why do manufacturers offer this safety feature if the government doesn’t mandate it?

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