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This Litigation Settlement Sends the Wrong Messages to Job Creators

OC DISTRICT ATTORNEY SETTLES WITH TOYOTA FOR $16 MILLION.

Toyota–the world’s largest automaker–certainly had its troubles not too long ago with alleged product liability issues for unintended acceleration of its cars, a National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration investigation and hundreds of private and class action lawsuits. Yet, to its credit, Toyota recalled its vehicles, made corrections if needed and is back on top as a trusted brand.

But the irony is not lost on me that Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas, using a contingency fee law firm, and the power of his public office, chose to “pile on” and file his own civil case. Mr. Rackauckas originally said that the lawsuit was motivated by questioning if Toyota “puts profits over people.” Interesting choice of words for a DA who just settled his lawsuit against this auto manufacturer for $16 million, one-half of which went to fund the county’s anti-gang programs.   

Are you kidding me? Where’s the nexus here between auto safety, consumer protection and gangs? And where did the other half of the $16 million go? To pay off a secret deal with an outside law firm the DA hired to prosecute this case and further fund his department when government coffers are caught short? Is there no OC Board of Supervisors’ oversight here?

It appears the DA has put his department’s “profits” as top priority. Does he not see that business competes in a global marketplace, that foreign companies and top employers look at this process and say, “This is the American legal system? Should we really be investing here, creating jobs here, hiring here?”  Nice jurisprudence lesson for a recovering economy.

That’s my opinion.


Posted on April 23, 2013


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