NATIONAL – According to an Associated Press (AP) investigation, Toyota has routinely engaged in questionable, evasive and deceptive legal tactics when sued, frequently claiming it does not have information it is required to turn over and sometimes even ignoring court orders to produce key documents.
In a review of lawsuits filed around the country involving a wide range of complaints — not just the sudden acceleration problems that have led to millions of Toyotas being recalled — the automaker has hidden the existence of tests that would be harmful to its legal position and claimed key material was difficult to get at its headquarters in Japan. It has withheld potentially damaging documents and refused to release data stored electronically in its vehicles.
There have been numerous cases around the country in which Toyota’s actions were evasive, and sometimes even deceptive, in providing answers to questions posed by plaintiffs. Court rules generally allow a person or company who is sued to object to turning over requested information; it’s permitted and even expected that defense attorneys play tough, but it’s a violation to claim evidence does not exist when it does.
Toyota disputes this statement and the accusations of deception. Toyota says, “it plays by the rules when it comes to defending itself.” “Toyota takes its legal obligations seriously and strives to maintain the highest professional and ethical standards, in connection with litigation and otherwise,” the company said, “We are confident we have acted appropriately with respect to product liability litigation.”
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