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Congress subpoenas documents from former Toyota lawyer

The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee issued a subpoena today demanding “all documents relating to Toyota motor vehicle safety and Toyota’s handling of alleged motor vehicle defects and related litigation” that are held by former Toyota North America top lawyer Dimitrios Biller.

Game on.

Biller, who represented the company in liability cases from 2003 to 2007, said Toyota hid damaging facts from the government and customers.

"This is a company that doesn't have any respect for the laws in the United States," Biller recently told Reuters. "This is a company that has no qualms about violating court orders, concealing or destroying evidence."

"The evidence involved would have allowed plaintiffs to take their cases to trial," he added. "This was all done in the interest of saving money."

Biller was prevented earlier this month from releasing the documents he has in his possession that he says would prove his case. A federal arbitrator sided with Toyota, which sought to quash the documents. Now, they are the subject of a congressional subpoena, which supersedes the injunction.

“The committee is conducting a comprehensive, fact-based investigation with the intent of collecting and analyzing as much relevant information as possible,” committee chair Ed Towns (D-N.Y.) and ranking minority member Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) said in a joint statement. “The only way we can ensure that the safety needs of American drivers are being met is to examine, in a bipartisan fashion, exactly who knew what and when, and if appropriate and immediate action was taken to mitigate any danger to the American public.”

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By Frank Ahrens  |  February 18, 2010; 4:34 PM ET
Categories:  Congress , Corporations , The Ticker  | Tags: Darrell Issa, Dimitrios Biller, Ed Towns, Toyota Corolla, Toyota recall update, toyota, toyota recall model and years  
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