Thursday, January 6, 2011
Arbitrator rules against former Toyota attorney who claimed Toyota had failed to disclose documents
As you know, Toyota has been in the news repeatedly because of claims of defects in its cars that cause sudden acceleration problems. A side story to that on-going litigation is the litigation against one of its former lawyers who accused the company of hiding important and relevant documents in product liability cases. Back in March I posted this short video (after a commercial) from CNN on the subject. In addition, you can go here for a video of a conversation with the lawyer in question and here for a six page long article on the subject. In September, an arbitrator ruled the former lawyer/whistleblower could use documents that otherwise would be protected by attorney-client privilege because he made a prima facie showing that a crime-fraud exception applies. See here. However, the lawyer has now been ordered to pay Toyota $2.5 million in compensation and $100,000 in punitive damages for publicly revealing the confidential information. Go here for Toyota's official press release. Go here for the story in the Wall Street Journal law blog, which has more helpful links.