Monday, August 25, 2014

Toyota disrespect for American jurors and judicial system

An unqualified jury

As I've reported here, earlier in 2014 Israel's Channel 2 broadcast a story about Toyota, SUA, and me. As is customary, Toyota's response statement came at the end of the news report. Naturally, it was provided in Hebrew. I had it translated by one of Israel's most respected Hebrew to English translators. See below.

Toyota says that the Bookout jury were not experts--implying that the jurors were in a technical muddle and didn't really understand what they were doing--when they found Toyota liable for Barbara Schwarz's death, Jean Bookout's injuries, and punitive damages for concealing the defects that caused them. Perhaps Toyota, oh so clever!, expected that its audience in Israel, where we have no jury system, would not know that Toyota's own defense counsel approved of every last one of those jurors. Personally, I don't say the US jury system is perfect, but this seems more than a little over the top for an organization still facing $3 billion in product liability lawsuits after admitting its criminal deception of consumers. Also, if the truth about Toyota's vehicle safety cannot be understood by an inexpert jury, but is so obvious to experts, then why did Toyota's experts not manage to effectively rebut Barr in the Bookout trial?

And Toyota keeps making the same unsupported claims of exoneration by government experts--remember, those are the very experts to whom the company lied. Toyota admitted lying to NHTSA about defects. Barr clearly showed how Toyota lied to NASA about its system designs. But Toyota  writes that there are "solid facts" that have proven the reliability and safety of its vehicles beyond all doubt.

Solid facts? Really? Good thing for your DPA compliance that you didn't say this in US media, guys.

Here is the text of the response statement with a comment by the translator that points out a key ambiguity in the source text terminology.