Smith et al v. Toyota Motor Corporation et al
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER - (See Memorandum and Order for complete details.) This matter comes before the Court on a request by defense counsel for rulings on admissibility of certain deposition excerpts of Kozo Oyama. Arguments were presented during tr ial outside of the presence of the jury concerning four separate issues related to the admissibility of parts of a video deposition of Kozo Oyama. The rulings on these issues are as follows. Signed by District Judge E. Richard Webber on April 23, 2018. (MCB)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF MISSOURI
KRISTIN MARIE SMITH
TOYOTA MOTOR CORPORATION
Case No. 2:16CV00024 ERW
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
This matter comes before the Court on a request by defense counsel for rulings on
admissibility of certain deposition excerpts of Kozo Oyama. Arguments were presented during
trial outside of the presence of the jury concerning four separate issues related to the
admissibility of parts of a video deposition of Kozo Oyama. The rulings on these issues are as
The objections to questions and answers on page on page 12, lines 4-7 will be ruled as
follows. This testimony relates to the witness’ testimonial history in prior depositions. The Court
concludes the prejudicial effect of allowing this testimony outweighs the probative value. See
Fed. R. Evid. 403. Accordingly, the Court holds this excerpt should be excluded from evidence.
The second objection by Defendant concerns questions and answers on page 18, line 1
through page 21, line 2. According to the Deferred Prosecution Agreement (“DPA”), Toyota
consented to the filing of a one count information charging Toyota with committing wire fraud in
violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1343. Toyota admits it misled consumers by concealing and making
false statements about safety-related issues affecting vehicles, each of which caused a type of
The issues in this case do not involve unintended acceleration. Plaintiff is attempting to
place before the jury information that Toyota confessed to a felony. It is misleading to suggest
the felony referenced in the DPA pertains to issues concerning the 1997 Toyota 4Runner’s
proclivities for rollover resistance. Furthermore, the witness testified he does not know “whether
or not that took place in 2014.” He also testified he does not know the specifics of the agreement
with the government. This attempt to mislead the jury into believing Toyota is guilty of a felony
that relates to any issue in this case concerning the 1997 4Runner is totally inappropriate, and the
objections are sustained.
The third objection by Defendant concerns testimony found on page 62, line 21 through
page 65, line 7. Objections to submitting the questions and answers contained in line 62, line 21
through page 63, line 24 are overruled. Objections to questions and answers on page 63, line 25
through page 64, line 9 are sustained because of lack of knowledge by the witness. Objections to
questions and answers on page 64, line 10 through page 65, line 7 are also sustained because of
lack of knowledge by the witness.
The fourth and final objection by Defendant concerns testimony found on page 68, line
22 through page 71, line 2. The Court rules the objections to questions and answers contained in
this excerpt are sustained. Technicians should prepare two segments overnight, and the Court
will make a ruling in the morning at 8:30 a.m. after it is able to review the related video clips.
The technicians must be prepared to show questions and answers on page 68, line 22 through
page 71, line 2 in the event the Court reverses this ruling and allows the material to be shown.
So Ordered this 23rd day of April, 2018.
E. RICHARD WEBBER
SENIOR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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