Toyota lashed out at instructor during big recall

US Recall News Posted on

It's the kind of publicity any university might dream about: An instructor uncovers a possible flaw that's causing some of the world's most popular cars to accelerate suddenly. His ground-breaking work attracts interest from Congress and reporters worldwide.

But as Southern Illinois University's David Gilbert sought to show that electronics might be to blame for the problem in Toyotas, the world's largest automaker tried to cast doubt on his findings. One Toyota employee even questioned whether he should be employed by the school, which has long been a recipient of company donations.

Electronic messages obtained by The Associated Press show the automaker grew increasingly frustrated with Gilbert's work and made its displeasure clear to his bosses at the 20,000-student school.

"It did kind of catch us off-guard," university spokesman Rod Sievers said.

So did the fallout. Two Toyota employees quickly resigned from an advisory board of the school's auto-technology program, and the company withdrew offers to fund two spring-break internships.

"I didn't really set out to take on Toyota. I set out to tell the truth, and I felt very strongly about that," said Gilbert, who was among the first to suggest that electronics, not sticky gas pedals or badly designed floor mats, caused the acceleration that required the Japanese automaker to recall millions of vehicles.

Toyota insists its relationship with the school remains "strong," and company officials say they have no plans to stop contributing to SIU. They also say the two Toyota representatives who stepped down from the advisory board did so merely to avoid any appearance that the company was exerting influence over Gilbert's testimony.

Legal News Media

Legal News is the top headline legal news provider for lawyers and legalprofessionals. Read law articles and breaking news from law firm's across the United States to get the latest updates. We reserve the right, at our discretion, to change, modify, add, or remove portions of the site at any time. Your This site is solely for your personal use. You are, of course, welcome to print or otherwise copy material from this site for your personal use. However, you may not distribute, exchange, modify, sell or transmit anything you copy from this Site, including but not limited to any text, images, audio and video, for any business, commercial or public purpose. Any unauthorized use of the text, images, audio and video may violate copyright laws, trademark laws, the laws of privacy and publicity and civil and criminal statutes.

 

American Bar Association – Start and Run a Law Firm

NewYorkStateBar.com – Starting a Law Firm

Lawyer Website Designs