An agreement has been reached with Toyota Motor Corp. that will require the company to turn over its source code, the “crown jewels” of the company, to the lead Plaintiffs’ lawyers in the multidistrict litigation over sudden acceleration. The source code will provide evidence that defects in the electronic throttle-control system caused sudden acceleration in Toyota vehicles. Toyota has maintained there are no problems with the electronics but has agreed to turn over its source code to Plaintiffs’ engineers under stringent security. Judge James Selna, who is overseeing the case in Santa Ana, Calif., has signed an order under seal approving the agreement.
Among the security measures in place are iris scans required for entry into a secure room in a neutral facility where the source code can be accessed. Engineers are required to print documents on numbered paper containing radio-frequency tags. Lawyers on both sides came up with a compromise to have the source code provided on a single computer located in a locked vault, while the engineers worked in the secured room.
Mark Robinson, a senior partner at Newport Beach, Calif.-based Robinson, Calcagnie & Robinson, is co-lead counsel on one of the Plaintiffs’ steering committees in the case. The agreement will allow engineers to analyze more than 8 million lines of Toyota’s source code. Toyota has recalled 8 million vehicles and paid $48.8 million in civil penalties due to defective gas pedals and floor mats attributed to sudden acceleration. As you may recall, Dee Miles from our firm also serves on the PSC in the MDL.
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