Thursday, October 30, 2014

Translator Refutes Toyota’s Contempt Motion in Leaks

Translator Refutes Toyota’s Contempt Motion in Leaks

, The National Law Journal

A translator who allegedly leaked confidential discovery documents from litigation against Toyota Motor Corp. says she should not be found in contempt because she has removed all those materials from the public view.
U.S. District Judge James Selna of the Central District of California has orderedBetsy Benjaminson, who lives in Israel and is a self-described whistleblower, to show cause why she should not be sanctioned.

Benjaminson's attorney argues that, while working for a translation service retained by plaintiffs’ counsel, she obtained 88 documents from the Toyota’s sudden-acceleration litigation. She said she got another 1,500 documents when translating for Toyota’s criminal counsel, Debevoise & Plimpton, during investigations by the U.S. government and various state attorneys general.
The criminal investigations were not within the scope of the protective order governing the civil cases in the multidistrict litigation, so Benjaminson could not have violated the protective order by taking documents related to them, Benjaminson’s counsel, H.H. Kewalramani of Lee, Jorgensen, Plye & Kewalramani, argued in a court document.
Moreover, Benjaminson had not signed the protective order while working for Debevoise & Plimpton’s translation vendor, her counsel added.
That leaves Toyota arguing for “retroactive applicability of the protective order and expansion of this court’s authority over all things related to Toyota sudden acceleration, whether part of this MDL or not,” Kewalramani argued.
Benjaminson worked for three translation services during the litigation, according to the response.
In a separate motion, plaintiffs’ counsel opposed Toyota’s ex parte application to have one of their experts comply with the car manufacturer’s discovery request in a bid to learn how documents got to Benjaminson.
Benjaminson had obtained a PowerPoint presentation prepared by Michael Barr, a plaintiffs expert witness who concluded that Toyota's source code was defective and led to unintended acceleration in a Toyota Camry. The expert presented the information during the first trial testing whether Toyota’s throttle-control systems caused vehicles to spontaneously accelerate.
According to Toyota’s court papers, Benjaminson obtained the source-code material from another plaintiffs expert, Antony Anderson, who got it from Barr’s Dropbox account.
The plaintiffs said Toyota was “trying to bully Michael Barr, the plaintiffs expert, and exert an asymmetrical pleading burden against counsel for plaintiffs and that expert.”

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