Investigators: Toyota Withheld Substantial Evidence

It seems like the Toyota scandal just keeps on going. Two days after the carmaker’s president testified before Congress, additional investigations now reveal that the company “withheld substantial” evidence in vehicle liability lawsuits. Documents from the company’s former lawyer reveal that Toyota mishandled safety disclosures related to rollovers, not the acceleration issue that has led to the recent round of recalls. Edolphus Towns (D-NY), chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, claimed Toyota has demonstrated a “systematic disregard for the law.” In a 2005 memo obtained by the Los Angeles Times, Toyota’s then-lawyer wrote, “It is simply not acceptable for a… company with 30 billion yen sitting in the bank to not take action and devote the resources to fulfill its discovery obligations.” Towns alleges Toyota routinely hid electronic records in litigation and that they “withheld substantial relevant information” from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. In a statement, Toyota said it “acted appropriately with respect to product liability litigation and our discovery practices.”