Volkswagen requests U.S. Supreme Court to reverse ruling on local emissions claims2 min read

By- Janhavi Agarwal

Volkswagen Group(German automaker) and Robert Bosch LLC on 26 January asked the US Supreme court to reverse an order passed by a lower court, which stated that two counties Utah’s Salt Lake County and Florida’s Hillsborough County could seek to penalize the companies over excessive diesel emissions, which could total billions of dollars. The order was passed by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, which allowed the two counties to seek “staggering” damages over updates made to polluting diesel vehicles after they were sold.

The German automaker’ U.S. unit told the U.S. Supreme Court that the order passed by the appeals court could throw America’s largest industries into regulatory chaos, to the detriment of manufacturers, dealers, consumers, and the environment.

The Environmental Protection Agency announced a $1.5 billion settlement in September with Daimler to resolve allegations it engaged in emissions cheating. Volkswagen noted that Hillsborough County has since then penalized Daimler and Bosch therefore it paid an amount of more than $20 billion to settle U.S. criminal and civil actions, which were evoked by the emissions scandal. However, that did not shield the company from the local and state government liabilities. The appeals court noted that the company was “mindful” that its orders might result in staggering liability for Volkswagen.

Charles Breyer, U.S. District Judge who ruled in Volkswagen’s favor in 2018, noted that the potential penalties for the automaker in the case involving the two counties might reach $30.6 million per day and $11.2 billion per year.

The Ohio Supreme Court heard the arguments from both sides in the state’s lawsuit against Volkswagen on 26 January over the damages of the excess diesel emissions from 14, 000 Ohio registered cars. The court stated that it seeks to hold Volkswagen responsible as the company resorted to “deceptive recalls” by modifying its customers’ cars, which they had already purchased, and evading the emission laws. In the court papers, the company mentioned that Ohio’s claim could reach a total of “$350 million per day, or more than $127 billion per year, over a multi-year period”.