Environmental Protection Agency and California Air Resources Board Issue Notice of Violation to Fiat Chrysler Over Illegal Diesel Emissions

Environmental Protection Agency and California Air Resources Board Issue Notice of Violation to Fiat Chrysler Over Illegal Diesel Emissions

Minami Tamaki is investigating allegations that Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (“Fiat Chrysler”) installed and failed to disclose the presence of engine control software that alters emissions and contributes to air pollution in model year 2014, 2015, and 2016 diesel Jeep Grand Cherokee and Dodge Ram 1500 trucks.

If you own or lease a Jeep Grand Cherokee or Dodge Ram 1500, you are encouraged to contact the lawyers at Minami Tamaki at (415) 788-9000 for more information. There is no charge for reviewing your potential claim and no obligation on your part.

On January 12, 2017, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) and California Air Resources Board (“CARB”) issued notices to Fiat Chrysler that the company was in violation of the Clean Air Act and California’s Health & Safety Code.

The EPA and CARB allege that Fiat Chrysler installed software in vehicles that causes them to emit lower levels of nitrogen oxides during emissions testing than when driven under normal road conditions. Nitrogen oxides form smog when combined with other compounds, and have been linked to respiratory issues and other harmful health effects.

The EPA has accused Fiat Chrysler of installing emissions control software in an estimated 104,000 model year 2014-2016 Jeep Grand Cherokees and Dodge Ram 1500 trucks with 3.0 liter diesel engines. The EPA stated that it has identified at least eight undisclosed auxiliary emission control devices in these vehicles that can alter how a vehicle emits air pollution.

In a news release, EPA Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance Assistant Administrator Cynthia Giles, stated, “[f]ailing to disclose software that affects emissions in a vehicle’s engine is a serious violation of the law, which can result in harmful pollution in the air we breathe.”

Owners and lessees of Fiat Chrysler vehicles may have been misled by the company’s representations that these vehicles were environmentally friendly and complied with applicable emissions requirements. Repairs may be needed to bring vehicle emission levels within legal requirements.

The allegations against Fiat Chrysler come on the heels of the Volkswagen “clean-diesel” emissions scandal. The EPA alleged that Volkswagen installed “defeat devices” in diesel vehicles that made it appear that the vehicles were in compliance with emissions standards during testing.

However, when the vehicles sensed that they were no longer being tested, the software disengaged and the vehicles emitted pollutants greatly exceeding legal limits. Minami Tamaki filed several lawsuits against Volkswagen alleging that the company misled consumers. Consumer claims were consolidated in federal court in the Northern District of California in 2016. Minami Tamaki has continued to prosecute this matter with attorneys around the country, which has resulted in settlements of over $15 billion to date.

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