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By Mark Kleis

A ruling has been issued by arbitrator and retired federal Judge Gary Taylor in a consolidated case between Toyota and a former Toyota attorney, Dimitrios Biller, finding evidence Toyota hired Dimitrios to destroy and hide incriminating safety documents regarding roller lawsuits.

As a result of the ruling, Toyota will no longer be able to claim attorney-client privilege as a reason to keep some crucial internal documents mentioned by Biller from being admissible in the case, according to Automotive News. This ruling means that Biller will finally be able to reveal documents that he claims prove Toyota knowingly and intentionally withheld evidence from trials.

In regards to the arbitrator's decision, Taylor said, "Mr. Biller's testimony is probably sufficient by itself to establish a prima facie showing. He was a key lawyer in Toyota's litigation department, having firsthand knowledge of much significant evidence." Prima facie is defined as a showing of some foundation of fact, as outlined in the decision, according to Auto News.

Biller's history

As Leftlane has previously reported, Biller, a former top attorney for the automaker, says the company regularly concealed proof of safety problems and failed to disclose information that it was legally obligated to produce during litigation.

"You have to understand that Toyota in Japan does not have any respect for our legal system," said Biller. "They were hiding evidence, concealing evidence, destroying evidence, obstructing justice."

When Biller left Toyota in 2007 he was given a severance package worth $3.7 million that also stipulated confidentiality of internal knowledge and any documents Biller may still possess. Biller sued to have the non-disclosure agreement in severance package declared illegal, but an arbitrator previously ruled that the documents will remain sealed until a ruling can be issued on the merits of the case. The arbitrator also then denied Toyota's request that the documents in Biller's possession be returned to the automaker.

Now, the new arbitrator has ruled that the documents will be dismissible - but the ruling does not suggest that either Toyota or Biller acted illegally or legally, as the case will now move to a formal trial for that determination.

The latest arbitration case was the result of a combination of a 2009 lawsuit by Toyota against Biller for $33.5 million alleging that Biller broke the terms of his severance package, and Biller's countersuit alleging defamation and the past improper treatment that ultimately resulted in his resignation.



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