The earthquake and subsequent tsunami in Japan have clearly impacted the lives of countless individuals worldwide. And now, its shockwaves have rippled over to the legal system as well. Due to communication and travel issues in Japan, a large litigation (comprised of about 200 lawsuits) against Toyota Motor Corporation is largely on hold.
The on-hold suit is brought against Toyota due to injuries and fatalities from defects in Toyota’s vehicles. Important evidence, including highly sensitive source code from the vehicles and email chains, isn’t able to be obtained at this time. The source code can be accessed from a computer in a secured vault. However, Mark Robinson, the plaintiffs’ co-lead counsel, stated, “Because there are problems with communications in Japan right now, we’ve not agreed to it.”
Other delays in the case are due to travel issues. According to the article, U.S. District Judge James Selna ordered for a Toyota employee to be deposed in relation to Toyota’s design documentation process. Selna understands the difficult situation in Japan right now and “acknowledged that a deposition might not be possible for several months.”
This article reminds us that although the earthquake is over, its aftershocks will last for many months to come. The Japanese are still in dire need of help. Donations made to the Red Cross or other charities will help Japan get back on its feet more quickly.