Toyota demands Sean Kane, president of Massachusetts-based Safety Research and Strategies, all documents and emails he sent to CNN, ABC, the Huffington Post or other reporters.
In 2010, Kane, an auto safety expert who works with attorneys of plaintiffs who have sued automakers, testified before Congress on sudden-acceleration issues. For its recalls of over 10 million vehicles for sudden unintended acceleration claims in U.S. District Court in California, Toyota has to face dozens of lawsuits. The company already paid a $50 million fine for not recalling the vehicles earlier.
“Toyota’s subpoena is nothing more than another attempt to harass and intimidate us, the scientific community, and its customers who have complained about unintended acceleration,” Kane said. “Their tactics will not prevent us from continuing to post our findings on our website, as we’ve done all along.”
Toyota wants all Kane’s records, emails and also the names of all Toyota customers whom Kane has spoken to since 2001. Toyota makes appeal to the National Academies of Science and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which didn’t find any evidence of any electronic causes of sudden-acceleration incidents.
“Mr. Kane’s allegations about unintended acceleration in Toyota vehicles have never had any credible scientific basis, and have been thoroughly debunked by exhaustive NHTSA and NASA studies,” declared Toyota spokesman Brian Lyons.