Volkswagen suffered a major defeat in the US legal battle over further fines for the Dieselgate scandal. The Ohio Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that sanctions could be pursued against automakers for improper exhaust gas handling beyond fines already agreed at the U.S. federal level. According to VW, similar regional activities will erupt in Ohio – the Wolfsburg-based car company could face billions worth of fines again.
When asked, Volkswagen said it would like to bring the case to the U.S. Supreme Court. The panel believes that individual states’ claims in emissions corruption will be offset by fines and compensation already paid by VW for violating the nationwide clean air law. Clean air frame Had to pay. Many U.S. courts have come to this conclusion in similar cases.
“This is an important decision that will ensure that Volkswagen can be held accountable for its conduct,” Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost said in a statement. How the state will proceed in this case has not yet been decided, but the Ohio Supreme Court has ordered the doors to open for trial. “We will seek justice,” Attorney General Yost declared.
A trillion dollar fine?
As the court ruling shows, the Ohio ruling poses a greater financial risk to VW. The judges were 6-1 to allow further fines against the company. Judge Michael Donnelly was the only judge to impose additional fines that could the VW theoretically impose “over a trillion dollars.” Ohio is one of many places – the automaker has faced similar lawsuits in other U.S. states.
In September 2015, under pressure from US environmental officials, VW acknowledged that it had handled the exhaust technology of diesel cars for years with specialized software (failure device). The group has already registered 32 billion for the scandal – mostly fines in the United States. But VW may face more costly obstacles. In June 2020, the Court of Appeals ruled that additional penalties were allowed at the regional level, even though they had already concluded. This includes cases from two counties in the states of Florida and Utah, however, it may also point the way nationwide.
The appellate judges said they were aware that their decision would lead to “breathtaking burdens” for VW. Based on regional lists of fines in the two districts alone, the fines could be as high as $ 11.2 billion a year. In this case, VW had already returned to the U.S. Supreme Court in the capital, Washington, in January to avoid further fines.
hb / dk (dpa)
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