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by Vault Law Editors | January 06, 2011


It’s time for Dimitrios Biller to put away his whistle and take out his checkbook. The former managing counsel for Toyota’s operations in the United States had “claimed that Toyota hid evidence of safety defects and fostered a culture of ‘hypocrisy and deceit.’” He supported his claims with boxes of documents that he had taken from Toyota, which according to Biller, Toyota had intentionally withheld in products liability litigation.

But instead of helping him, those boxes have landed Biller in the loser’s corner. Arbitrator Gary Taylor (a retired judge) found for Toyota in determining that Biller breached his confidentiality agreement with the car giant. Biller must not only return Toyota’s documents but also must give the company $2.6 million. In response to this ruling, Toyota made the following statement:

“Toyota takes its legal obligations very seriously and works hard to uphold the highest professional and ethical standards. We are gratified that the credibility of Toyota’s legal organization and the integrity of our legal professionals have been validated. We believe that the Arbitrator’s award clearly vindicates Toyota’s position and reaffirms the critical importance of attorney-client privilege as a cornerstone of our legal system. Throughout this process, Mr. Biller has continuously made misleading and inaccurate allegations about Toyota’s conduct, and we feel this award is an appropriate consequence of his actions and completely discredits his meritless attacks on our company and our people.”

With finger pointing on both sides, it’s difficult to know the true story. But the real takeaway from this case is for practicing attorneys and law students. This case highlights the great duties and conflicts of the legal profession. The gravity of the attorney-client privilege is something that no attorney should take lightly. Attorneys and law students should ensure that they fully understand the serious obligation that they are tasked with once they are members of the bar. Law can be an incredibly rewarding, interesting career, but it is also a complicated profession with heavy responsibility.



ABC News Source
Toyota USA Newsroom Source


Filed Under: Law

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