Columbus Volkswagen The “Dieselgate” scandal has suffered a major setback in the US legal battle over higher fines. 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 announced that it wanted to bring the case to the U.S. Supreme Court. The panel considers that individual states’ claims in emissions corruption are offset by fines and compensation to be paid by VW for violations of the Clean Air Act nationwide. 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.
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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.
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.
Many cases in other states
The only judge who ruled against it was Michael Donnelly, who imposed additional fines that could the VW theoretically impose “more than 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 recorded costs of around 32 32 billion for the scandal – mostly in the United States.
But VW may face more costly hurdles. 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 districts 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 appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court in the capital, Washington, in January to avoid additional fines.
Further: VW faces new problems in diesel scandal in France
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