An arbitrator has ruled that Toyota should be awarded $2.6 million with regards to a dispute with a former in-house lawyer who was determined to have disclosed confidential business information.
Last Tuesday, the arbitrator, retired federal Judge Gary Taylor of Orange, Calif., said that lawyer Dimitrios Biller’s disclosures violated his $3.7 million severance agreement with Toyota and resulted to “extensive” harm against the company. Biller worked at Toyota's U.S. headquarters in Torrance, Calif., from 2003 to 2007.
This final order cited that Biller made 10 unauthorized disclosures to the news media, on his Web site, in public seminars and to a Texas court.
Judge Taylor said that when Biller disclosed Toyota’s confidential business affairs, the carmaker “incurred economic disadvantage, worldwide harm to its reputation and undermining of its legal staff in pending matters.” Judge Taylor described Biller’s acts to be “professionally unthinkable.”
The award for Toyota consists of $2.5 million in “liquidated damages” that were detailed in the 2007 severance agreement if it were violated plus $100,000 in punitive damages.
The case received a lot of attention since Biller had claimed that one of the reasons that he was hired was to cover up the so-called “Books of Knowledge.”
Biller asserted that these books consist of sensitive electronic records about vehicle design, testing and performance that would have undermined Toyota's defenses against vehicle owners who filed lawsuits against the carmaker for causing accidents. [via autonews - sub. required]