Friday, February 19, 2010

Toyota: No one is above the law - apologies do not get dangerous cars off the road

With the latest news that Toyota may recall its 2009 and 2010 Corollas because of power steering defects, Toyota has now admitted to defects in its vehicles' accelerator, braking and steering systems – the three most important aspects of operating a motor vehicle.

Stanley M. Chesley of the Cincinnati-based law firm of Waite, Schneider, Bayless & Chesley Co., L.P.A. – whose firm has filed a major RICO class action against Toyota for deceiving its customers and dealers about these mounting defects – stated that "when your Toyota's accelerator, brakes and steering are all defective, what you really have is a failure of your car's electronic controls, which function as the car's brain and central nervous system."

Congressman Bart Stupak recently amplified Chesley's suspicion, noting that Toyota's internal documents made clear that, as far back as 2002, Toyota was aware that electronic control system problems may be causing sudden acceleration. Despite this Congressional investigation, however, Toyota continues to bar investigators from examining its electronic control technology.

Now, with Toyota's recall of a staggering 11 million vehicles, Toyota's president and CEO, Akio Toyoda, yesterday indicated that he won't come to the U.S. to testify at upcoming congressional hearings on the recalls.

Chesley stated, "No one is above the law. Presidents of tobacco companies, and even U.S. Presidents, have testified before congressional committees. Akio Toyoda's grand apologies from 6,000 miles away don't release him from appearing before Congress and they don't explain Toyota's nearly decade-long cover up of these defects."

According to news sources, Toyota's faulty engineering and sloppy quality control – all of which stem from decision-making at Toyota's Japanese headquarters – have caused at least 39 confirmed deaths, countless injuries and billions of dollars in economic damage to Toyota drivers. As Chesley remarked, "for Toyota's CEO to even consider refusing to appear before Congress, particularly when he's looking to the United States to make Toyota the world's largest car manufacturer, is outrageous."

Chesley filed the RICO class action, in part, because the evidence continues to disprove Toyota's statements about the defects' causes. All of this evidence highlighting Toyota's deception underscores the company's pattern of corrupt and fraudulent practices, which is what RICO, the federal racketeering statute, prohibits.

Source Waite, Schneider, Bayless & Chesley Co., L.P.A.

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