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Legal Ethics

Ruling Clears Way for Testimony by Ex-Toyota Lawyer on Hidden Documents

Posted Aug 30, 2010 11:42 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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A ruling by the Texas Supreme Court is expected to clear the way for a former Toyota lawyer to testify about allegations the company failed to disclose information on design defects in its cars.

The ruling allows a judge to consider a contempt of court sanction in a case brought by Pennie Green, who became a quadriplegic at the age of 17 when her Toyota Camry rolled over and the roof collapsed, the Austin American-Statesman reports. At issue was whether the trial judge still had jurisdiction to consider whether Toyota violated a court order to disclose all documents, even though the case had ended in 2007 when Green settled for $1.5 million.

On Friday, the state supreme court lifted a stay of the proceedings and denied Toyota’s request to intervene, the story says.

Former Toyota in-house lawyer Dimitrios Biller handled the case. He now alleges it is one of hundreds in which Toyota concealed engineering documents about vehicle safety. His July 2009 racketeering suit claims he had a mental breakdown as a result of Toyota’s “campaign to quiet his efforts” to get the automaker to comply with its duties in discovery. Toyota has denied the allegations.

Former coverage:

ABAJournal.com: "Ex-Toyota Lawyer Explains Split with His Counsel: I Wanted to Go to Trial"

ABAJournal.com: "House Panel Wants Ex-Toyota Lawyer to Turn Over Damaging Documents"

ABAJournal.com: "Toyota Whistle-Blower Lawyer Is Dogged and ‘Heavily Medicated’ "

ABAJournal.com: "Ex-Toyota Lawyer Alleges Destruction of Evidence in Rollover Suits"

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