Alternative Dispute Resolution
Lawsuit Accusing Toyota of Destroying Evidence Is Headed for Arbitration
Posted Nov 18, 2009 9:56 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss
An arbitrator, rather than a judge, will hear claims by a former Toyota in-house lawyer that the automaker destroyed evidence in more than 300 rollover suits.
Yesterday, U.S. District Judge George King of Los Angeles ruled that a 2007 severance agreement requires lawyer Dimitrios Biller to arbitrate his dispute with Toyota, Bloomberg reports. Biller claims wrongful termination and a “ruthless” racketeering conspiracy to hide evidence.
Biller had claimed the severance agreement cannot be enforced because he had reduced mental capacity when it was signed and because it is against public policy. King said in his order (PDF) that the enforceability issue should also be resolved by the arbitrator.
Biller alleges he had a mental breakdown as a result of Toyota’s “campaign to quiet his efforts” to get Toyota to comply with its duties in discovery. He told a journalist last month that he is “heavily medicated” and functioning on a day-to-day basis.