© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A brand new emblem of German carmaker Volkswagen is unveiled on the VW headquarters in Wolfsburg, Germany September 9, 2019. REUTERS/Fabian Bimmer/File Photo
By Lawrence Hurley
WASHINGTON (Reuters) -The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday rejected Volkswagen AG (OTC:)’s bid to keep away from lawsuits filed by officers in three states looking for damages stemming from the German automaker’s diesel emissions dishonest scandal.
The justices refused to listen to appeals by VW and German auto provider Robert Bosch LLC of a decrease court docket ruling permitting Florida’s Hillsborough County and Utah’s Salt Lake County to hunt to carry the businesses liable underneath native legal guidelines and rules barring tampering with car emissions controls. The court docket additionally rejected VW’s attraction of the same ruling in a case introduced by the state of Ohio.
Volkswagen (DE:) subsidiary Volkswagen Group of America Inc has argued that underneath the Clean Air Act, the landmark U.S. environmental regulation, solely the federal authorities can pursue such claims. VW famous that it already has reached a settlement of greater than $20 billion with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
The lawsuits accused VW of deceiving the EPA – and in doing so additionally violating the native legal guidelines.
President Joe Biden’s administration, requested by the court docket to weigh in on the dispute, urged the justices to not hear the case, saying the Clean Air Act permits for enforcement of state legal guidelines.
In one case, Volkswagen was looking for to overturn a 2020 ruling by the San Francisco-based ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. The ninth Circuit determined that the Clean Air Act didn’t preempt native efforts to impose legal responsibility over automobiles that VW had tampered with after they have been offered. The ninth Circuit, nonetheless, agreed with VW that it couldn’t be held liable underneath the native anti-tampering legal guidelines for actions it took pre-sale.
The ninth Circuit mentioned its resolution may result in “staggering liability for Volkswagen.”
Volkswagen was additionally looking for to overturn a June ruling by the Ohio Supreme Court that reached the same conclusion.
VW says it may face enormous damages within the instances and probably others. Daimler AG (DE:) and Fiat Chrysler, a part of Stellantis NV, are dealing with comparable claims.
Volkswagen introduced in September that it agreed to pay https://www.reuters.com/legal/litigation/vw-pay-15-million-settle-nh-montana-diesel-claims-2021-09-27 $1.5 million to settle comparable claims in New Hampshire and Montana. If different states and counties settle on the identical quantity per car, the whole can be simply $13 million.
In 2015, Volkswagen disclosed that it had used subtle software program to evade nitrogen oxide emissions necessities in almost 11 million automobiles worldwide. It additionally misled the EPA, which had began asking questions in 2014.
In addition to equipping automobiles with “defeat devices” earlier than they have been offered, VW additionally put in software program updates after sale, which was the conduct at concern earlier than the Supreme Court. At the time, VW didn’t reveal the true goal of the updates, which have been aimed toward refining the software program used to manage the emissions.
In a short backing the corporate, the Alliance for Automotive Innovation, a commerce group, mentioned that opening up firms to lawsuits regarding post-sale software program updates “will jeopardize auto producers’ means to make these important updates and upset the post-sale regulatory regime that has existed for many years.
Lawyers for the native governments disagree, saying that automakers wouldn’t be liable so long as they observe Clean Air Act necessities.
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