Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Barr and the DOJ- what we know and what we know that we don't know


All of this has been published elsewhere. I am just bringing it together again here for your persusal specifically because Toyota does not want you to see it. The following quoted text was first published in comments sections connected with two incisive EE Times articles:

"Toyota Pays $1.2 Billion to Settle DOJ Probe"


"DOJ on Toyota Software Problem: No Comment"

Re: Another successful score... junko.yoshida  
3/27/2014 10:39:16 AM
DoJ made its judgement against Toyota based on Toyota's initial cover-up -- "it's the floor mat, it's the sticky pedal!"

So, as you say, at a time when the most public isn't even aware of the software issue (as proven in the Oklahoma case), DoJ knowingly or unknowingly legitimized Toyota's initial execuse, and helped Toyota cover up even a bigger software glitch issue. Well, at least, that's what it seems to me. Am I wrong about this???



You are not wrong. You are right.

The docs I got in the translation project for Debevoise & Plimpton, Toyota's defense law firm representing them to the DOJ, were mainly about sticky pedals, floor mats, and floor pans, and the PR efforts made to appease the public. And among them were some really hotly incriminating docs about how Toyota deliberately misled NHTSA. We know this now in public becasue the DOJ's "Statement of Facts" parallels almost exactly the content of most of the docs they were given to me indirectly by D&P lawyers on behalf of Toyota. 

However, in very late 2011 and early 2012, after nearly a year of translating material almost entirely devoid of electronics related content, except for a few hideous smoking gun sentences that slipped through here and there, I received a batch of 230 documents that were translated separately and apparently held aside. These were far more involved with electronics. 

I wonder what happened to them. Did D&P hold onto them? Did they turn them over to the DOJ and the DOJ discounted them? Certainly they were not compelling proof of electronics defects all by themselves, but the DOJ can subpoena anyone it wants.

Around 6 weeks go, after the first WSJ leak article of the pending settlement, I contacted the DOJ and offered them the docs, thinking, well, they probably have them alreawdy. But if some were withheld, maybe they would like to know that. they checked with their colleagues and a week or so later they asked me for details on how to access them, and I provided those, and my impression was that they had been given an OK to review those documents. They included the electronics related docs and some also from the MDL that I had translated, and those were some evidence of electronics-related monkey business / cover-up. At that time, during the phone call where they asked the details of where they could access the docs...this was around perhaps five weeks ago, I pressed them to investigate Michael Barr's findings because these were extremely relevant to the Toyota cover-up of the electronics. There was one investigator on the phone along with the senior prosecutor. When I spoke of Barr, the investigator asked (and this was his only question to me during the whole phone call), "How do you spell Barr's name?" In shock, I spelled Barr's name for him.  Later, I confirmed from other sources
(i.e. I telephoned Barr and asked him if he had bee contacted by the DOJ) <insert here>

Like a bolt out of the blue

 that up to that point the DOJ had apparently not gone in that direction at all.

What is going on in the United States of America that Toyota is able to employ even the DOJ in the service of its cover-up? My disappointment is profound.


I said some more:

@Aerospace, If I understand Barr's work correctly, he found a single-point failure mode, not multi-point failures as you claim.

Barr's conclusion that Toyota's software is defective is actually less important, in my view, than his conclusion that their engineering processes are defective. This validates the strong impression I and others have had in reviewing  the 230 electronics-related internal Toyota engineering documents. The docs reveal a kind of seat-of-the-pants engineering, where engineering processes allowed designs in which Toyota engineers had to do detective work to find out why vehicles behaved unexpectedly, both during development (which may be acceptable for design processes of non-safety critical systems, but not for safety critical), and when receiving reports of vehicle behavior on the road, in the real world. I think you engineers can agree that a safety-critical machine must be absolutely predictable in its behavior, and the Toyota engineers recognized that the vehicles they were making were unpredictable. At times they used the word "ghost" to describe performance changes that they observed. Is this normal? Is it safe?

Barr's view of the substandard engineering practices that produced substandard designs has been supported in various ways by his colleague Dr. Koopman, as well as by engineers Gilbert, Leidecker, Barrance, Anderson, Rajkumar, Belt, Kirk, Hubing, Pecht, Armstrong, among others, both in the laboratory and in theory, the theory being primarily a comparison between proper safety-critical engineering practices and the practices that become evident in vehicle examinations and document review. The views of all of these respected engineers, taken together, substantiate Barr's conclusion about the engineering.

There is data that these failures occurred in the real world. The data exists but has not yet been published.

It is also plainly obvious that the hundreds of serious lawsuits against Toyota show that actual vehicle performance reveals engineering flaws. These vehicles are unpredictable on the road. That is a defect. As attorney Cole Portis pointed out in his interview on Israel's Channel 2, none of these lawsuits would have even been filed by law firms for plaintiffs if the facts could easily lead to blaming the driver for the death or catastrophic injury.

I will be very interested to learn why the DOJ ignored the electronics.

Re: DOJ Dodge junko.yoshida   3/29/2014 10:48:07 PM

@AeropsaceEngr, respectfully, I disagree. If What Mr. Barr did was merely "postulating a combination of multiple failures," Toyota hasn't actually proven that the sticky pedals or floor mat actually occrred in the real world, either.

But I digress.

You may want to read what B. Benjaminson wrote here in a separate thread:

The reason why DoJ didn't use the Oklahoma case in their judgement against Toyota now appears that they weren't simply aware of the case in Oklahoma, not because they were suspicious of Mr. Barr.

That, in my mind, is almost criminal.