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Shapiro & Appleton

Toyota Execs Appear to Be Avoiding Depositions

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A Circuit Court Judge ordered Jim Lentz, president of the U.S. side of Toyota and Yoshi Inaba, CEO and chairman of the car company to appear for depositions. Both Mr. Lentz and Mr. Inaba recently appeared before Congress to testify about the sudden acceleration problems found in many of their most popular cars including the Toyota Camry, Corolla and Prius.

Mr. Lentz and Mr. Inaba appealed the deposition order and are continuing to avoid sitting down and being scrutinized by the plaintiff’s attorneys who are representing victims who’ve been seriously injured in car wrecks and families who lost a loved one in a car crash, possibly due to a Toyota unexpectedly speeding up.

Over eight million Toyota vehicles have been recalled but the problem apparently hasn’t been solved. After Toyota proclaimed they found a “fix” by adding a metal shaft to the accelerator pedal, a Toyota Prius suddenly accelerated to 94 miles per hour and the driver was put at serious risk of serious injury. Fortunately, police came to the rescue and were able to help stop the Prius before it crashed into another car, or into a tree.

Here's a video of the dramatic, sudden Prius speed up...



Could the continued problems with their gas pedal and sudden acceleration be the reason Mr. Lentz and Mr. Inaba are avoiding depositions? Maybe.
The deposition process can play a critical role in determining the outcome of a lawsuit. Basically, a deposition is a formal legal process where someone testifies under oath with a licensed court reporter/stenographer present to record the testimony.

If Mr. Lentz or Mr. Inaba say something contradictory or withhold information regarding what they knew about the acceleration problems, and when they knew it, during the deposition, it can (and should) be used against the company in court. Members of Congress have already suggested the company misled the public about the extent of the gas pedal problem and placed profits over safety,
according to the Huffington Post.

Nevertheless, coming clean and being as transparent as possible is probably the best course of action for Toyota at this point. Their reputation has already been tarnished and that won’t change if executives are avoiding a fundamental legal process – giving a deposition.
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