EPA Accuses Fiat Chrysler of Emissions Cheating, Following Initial Consumer Lawsuit from Hagens Berman Against Automaker

01/12/2017

Lawsuit accused Fiat Chrysler and Bosch of deceptive conduct by colluding to cheat emissions in its EcoDiesel vehicles

SEATTLE – Today, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued official accusations against Fiat Chrysler stating the automaker used a “secret software” that allowed illegally high emissions in its EcoDiesel models, following a consumer lawsuit brought by Hagens Berman against Fiat Chrysler for EcoDiesel emissions cheating in December 2016.

“We’re pleased to see the EPA hot on the trail following our class-action lawsuit that called out Fiat Chrysler and Bosch for what we believe to be outright emissions fraud, akin to VW’s Dieselgate scandal,” said Steve Berman, managing partner of Hagens Berman.

Hagens Berman was the first law firm in the nation to file against Volkswagen after the Dieselgate scandal, and broke news of Fiat Chrysler’s emissions cheating in a lawsuit filed Dec. 1, 2016, stating the automaker sold vehicles equipped with an emissions system that during normal driving conditions emits many multiples of the allowed level of pollutants such as NOx (mono-nitrogen oxides), despite the vehicles being marketed as eco-friendly.

The EPA’s Jan. 12, 2017 notice of violation accuses Fiat Chrysler of “violations of the Clean Air Act for installing and failing to disclose engine management software.” The allegations cover roughly 104,000 vehicles, all of which are included in the consumer suit previously filed by Hagens Berman. The EPA’s Notice of Violation and findings are also consistent with the firm’s vehicle testing backing the lawsuit.

Hagens Berman estimates that consumers paid premiums of up to $4,700 for vehicles that fail to meet federal emissions standards and are on the road illegally. The defeat device affects 140,000 Dodge RAM 1500s and 9,000 Jeep Grand Cherokee models, selling at a rate of 3,000 vehicles per month, according to the firm.

If you own or lease a 2014-2016 Dodge RAM 1500 EcoDiesel or 2014-2016 Jeep Grand Cherokee EcoDiesel, find out more about your consumer rights to potential compensation.


‚ÄčThe lawsuit seeks reimbursement for a proposed nationwide class of consumers who purchased or leased the affected vehicles, as well as injunctive relief and equitable relief for FCA and Bosch’s misconduct related to the design, manufacture, marketing, sale and lease of affected vehicles.

“Bosch and Fiat Chrysler took full advantage of consumers’ wishes to make a conscious, ecofriendly purchasing decision by vigorously marketing its EcoDiesel line as ‘clean diesel,’ as a means to charge premium prices – more than $4,700 more,” Berman said.

In its EcoDiesel advertising, FCA specifically targets consumers “who want to drive an efficient, environmentally-friendly truck without sacrificing capability or performance.” It also claims the RAM 1500 was “the NAFTA market’s first and only light-duty pickup powered by clean diesel technology.”

Find out more about the class-action lawsuit on behalf of owners and lessees of Dodge RAM 1500 and Jeep Grand Cherokee EcoDiesel vehicles.

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About Hagens Berman
Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro LLP is a consumer-rights class-action law firm with offices in 10 cities. The firm has been named to the National Law Journal’s Plaintiffs’ Hot List eight times. More about the law firm and its successes can be found at www.hbsslaw.com. Follow the firm for updates and news at @ClassActionLaw.

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Case Timeline

03/26/19: Sign-Up for Settlement Updates

Receive periodic updates about the settlements, including when the Approved Emissions Modification is available and when you can submit a claim for compensation.

01/10/19: $330M Proposed Settlement Reached

A $330 million proposed settlement has been reached with Fiat Chrysler and Bosch to compensate current and former owners and lessees, and provide a software update that brings the vehicles into emissions compliance. According to federal agencies, the modification does not materially affect fuel mileage or performance.

Owners who purchased their vehicle on or before Jan. 12, 2017 and still own the vehicle at the time the approved software update is installed will receive a payment of $3,075 in addition to a software update and the extended warranty. Those who purchased after Jan. 12, 2017 and still own the vehicle will receive $2,460. If no other valid claim is filed for the same vehicle, an eligible owner in this category may receive the full $3,075. Current lessees will receive a payment of $990 in additional to a software update and the extended warranty. Eligible former owners and former lessees will receive a payment of $990. 

The settlement is subject to court approval; a preliminary approval hearing is scheduled for Jan. 23, 2019. When and if the court grants preliminary approval, the claims process will open to class members. The court will hold a final approval hearing approximately three to four months later. Current owners and lessees will have 18 months from the date the court issues final approval of the class settlement to submit a claim, and two years to complete the repair and receive compensation. Former owners and lessees will have 90 days from the date of final approval to submit a claim.

Class members will receive more information about the terms of the settlement via mail and email. The full details of the settlement will also be available at www.EcoDieselSettlement.com. Additional information can also be found on the court website: https://www.cand.uscourts.gov/emc/chryslermdl.

06/19/17: Court Appoints Lead Counsel

Hagens Berman's managing partner, Steve Berman, has been appointed by U.S. District Court judge Edward Chen to the Plaintiffs' Steering Committee for experience and firm resources, to assist in leading the EcoDiesel emissions lawsuit. 

05/23/17: EPA SUES FIAT CHRYSLER

On May 23, 2017, the U.S. government took legal action against Fiat Chrysler, as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) filed a lawsuit against the automaker for the same claims brought by Hagens Berman. The EPA’s action confirms our original findings that Fiat Chrysler sought to mask the true emissions output of its EcoDiesel vehicles, and conceal the truth from consumers. Hagens Berman is again pleased to be at the forefront of emissions litigation in the automotive industry, and to bring this information to light.

01/18/17:

Hagens Berman was the first firm in the nation to uncover this scheme and file against Fiat Chrysler on behalf of owners like you. We were able to do so because we are the only law firm that has been independently testing cars and trucks. We have thus pioneered other cases versus Mercedes for its diesel BlueTEC, Chevy Cruze, Dodge 2500 series and the 1500 series. Since we began our groundbreaking suit, the EPA took notice, filing formal accusations against the automaker. Beware of copycat cases from other firms. Only Hagens Berman’s legal team was named Automotive Practice Group of the Year by Law360, and has a renowned track record of major wins. The firm played a key role in the top three auto class actions in U.S. history.