In 2000, while the company was fighting a Texas state court claim that it had sold a Dodge with a faulty steering mechanism, an anonymous tipster mailed documents to the carmaker showing that the plaintiffs team had tampered with the key piece of evidence. The judge concluded that someone on the plaintiffs team had purposely broken the steering column. The judge punished the plaintiffs lawyers with a sanction of $865,000 and referred his findings to the state bar. One lawyer, Robert Kugle, fled to Mexico and was disbarred in absentia. At the direction of Hantler and Kenneth Gluckman, who oversees the company's product liability defense, the company sued the trio in 2003 for fraud, a suit that remains pending, as does a bar association grievance change that DaimlerChrysler simultaneously filed against Kugle's two colleagues. "We will be greatly disappointed if the bar association doesn't suspend these lawyers from the practice of law," says Hantler.
Steven Hantler profile