Keller Rohrback Helps Steer Class Action Against Emissions Fraud in “EcoDiesel” Ram 1500 & Jeep Grand Cherokee

Keller Rohrback L.L.P. is investigating claims of emissions cheating in “EcoDiesel” Ram 1500 and Jeep Grand Cherokee vehicles marketed and sold by Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. Ram 1500 and Jeep Grand Cherokee light-duty vehicles use selective catalytic reduction (“SCR”) to control NOx emissions. According to reports, these EcoDiesel vehicles can detect variables that are only present during dynamometer testing; the cars engage different emissions control profiles during testing than when on the road. This method may constitute a “defeat device” under the Clean Air Act, and owners and lessees of these vehicles may have been misled by Fiat Chrysler’s representations that these vehicles had excellent fuel economy, and were environmentally friendly and in compliance with all applicable emissions requirements.


Case Updates

Preliminary Approval Granted

On February 11, 2019, Judge Edward M. Chen of the Northern District of California granted preliminary approval of the Proposed Class Action Settlement and authorized the notice program to begin, in order to educate consumers on their potential settlement options.

A Final Approval Hearing is scheduled to be held on May 3, when the Court will hear from the parties and others to decide whether to grant final approval to the Settlements. The Settlements, if approved, will collectively provide cash compensation, a vehicle repair, and a comprehensive extended warranty. If you are a current owner or current lessee, you must submit a claim and receive the repair to be eligible for compensation. You can have your vehicle repaired and receive the extended warranty prior to or after making a claim, but you will not be eligible for compensation until you submit your claim.

FCA will begin processing claims once the Court approves the Settlements. To learn more about options or being the process of submitting documents for the proposed Settlement, Class Members can visit www.ecodieselsettlement.com.

 

$307.5M Class Settlement with Fiat Chrysler, Bosch Will Compensate Owners and Lessees, Provide Repairs that Protect Environment while Maintaining Performance and Fuel Economy

January 10, 2019 —  A class action settlement agreement filed today by the consumer plaintiffs in the Fiat Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep (FCA) “EcoDiesel” Litigation will, if approved, provide eligible owners and lessees with substantial cash payments in addition to government-approved emissions modifications and extended warranties. The proposed settlement totaling $307.5 million ($280 million from FCA and $27.5 million from Bosch) was filed in the United States District Court, Northern District of California as part of the multidistrict litigation overseen by Judge Edward M. Chen.

Ram 1500 and Jeep Grand Cherokee 3.0-liter diesel vehicles from model years 2014 to 2016 are covered under the settlement. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and California Air Resources Board (CARB) will approve emissions modifications that bring these vehicles into compliance with the standards to which they were originally certified, without materially reducing advertised performance or fuel economy.

“It is an honor to have been selected by the Court to represent consumers in this matter. When consumers buy or lease a vehicle, they need to be able to trust that they get what they paid for. Today’s EcoDiesel settlement ensures they do,” said Lynn Sarko, Managing Partner at Keller Rohrback L.L.P.

Upon completion of the repair, which consists of a software change, the class member will receive a cash payment. The amount will vary depending on whether the class member is a current or former owner or lessee. For example, an “Eligible Owner” who owned a subject vehicle on January 12, 2017 (Notice of Violation or NOV date) and completes the repair will receive $3,075. An extended warranty will also be provided that covers all parts and systems affected by the emissions modification.

“By holding FCA and Bosch accountable for their diesel emissions cheating, consumers will now receive the vehicle they were promised plus cash compensation, while protecting our environment,” said Elizabeth Cabraser, Court-appointed Lead Counsel and chair of the Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee, which negotiated the settlement on behalf of class members. “We look forward to presenting this settlement to the court, and once approved ensuring eligible owners and lessees take advantage of its benefits. We appreciate the guidance provided by Judge Chen, the Settlement Master Kenneth Feinberg, and the efforts of the Department of Justice, EPA, the California Attorney General’s office and CARB.”

Former owners and lessees who sold their vehicle after the NOV date can also file claims to receive a portion of the total cash compensation assigned to the vehicle if it receives the repair. Class members who sell their vehicle after today (the settlement announcement date) will not be eligible for compensation.

Under consent decrees with the DOJ (on behalf of the EPA) and CARB that are intended to be implemented in conjunction with the class action settlement, FCA will pay penalties for violations of the Clean Air Act. It could also face significant additional fines if it does not perform the approved emissions modification on a minimum of 85 percent of eligible vehicles.

The settlement is subject to Court approval; a preliminary approval hearing is scheduled for January 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 and enters the Consent Decrees (the “Effective Date”) to submit a claim, and two years from the Effective Date to complete the repair and receive compensation. Former owners and lessees will have 90 days from the Effective Date 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.

 

Consumer Plaintiffs File Consolidated Class Action Complaint in FCA Litigation

On July 19, 2017, consumer and reseller dealer plaintiffs filed a Consolidated Class Action Complaint in the Northern District of California. This Consolidated Complaint brings together plaintiffs who have filed suit nationwide. This multidistrict litigation against Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and others concerns the misrepresentations and omissions relating to the installation of emissions defeat devices in Ram 1500 and Jeep Grand Cherokee “EcoDiesel” trucks and SUVs.

Keller Rohrback, a leading consumer protection firm, filed one of the first lawsuits against FCA related to these “EcoDiesel” vehicles. The firm represents clients across the country who retained Keller Rohrback because of the firm’s consumer and environmental experience and commitment to holding defendants accountable for the financial and environmental harms caused by their conduct.

 

 

 

Managing Partner Lynn Sarko Appointed to Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee for Fiat Chrysler Automobiles “EcoDiesel” Litigation

Keller Rohrback’s managing partner Lynn Sarko has been appointed to serve on the Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee in the litigation to hold Fiat Chrysler Automobiles accountable to consumers for developing and marketing trucks with so-called “EcoDiesel” engines.

Judge Edward Chen of the Northern District of California, presiding over the FCA multidistrict litigation (MDL), selected Mr. Sarko to serve on the Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee. The case In re: Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep EcoDiesel Marketing, Sales Practices, and Products Liability Litigation, MDL 17-MD-02777-EMC, is pending in federal court in San Francisco. Judge Chen’s order can be read here.

Mr. Sarko led Keller Rohrback, a leading consumer protection firm, in filing one of the first lawsuits against FCA related to these “EcoDiesel” vehicles containing a defeat device. The firm represents clients across the country who retained Keller Rohrback because of the firm’s consumer and environmental experience and commitment to holding defendants accountable for the financial and environmental harms caused by their conduct.

Mr. Sarko is a nationally-recognized leader in complex litigation. He has been selected by federal courts nationwide to lead a wide variety of cutting-edge cases. Since 1991, Mr. Sarko has managed Keller Rohrback’s diverse and accomplished Complex Litigation Group. He is widely recognized for his ability to direct complex litigation and his expertise dealing with high-stakes lawsuits.

 

JPML transfers “EcoDiesel” cases to Northern District of California

We are happy to report that, as Keller Rohrback and our co-counsel requested, the Joint Panel on Multidistrict Litigation consolidated all of the EcoDiesel cases in courts across the country before Judge Edward M. Chen of the Northern District of California. A copy of the Panel’s order can be found below.

The next steps are for Judge Chen to choose a group of lawyers to lead the litigation and to file a single, consolidated complaint on behalf of all consumers who purchased the affected vehicles.  Keller Rohrback will continue to fight for and defend the rights of all Class Members who have been affected by this scandal.

 



The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) and the California Air Resources Board (“CARB”) confirmed that Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (“FCA”) is in violation of the Clean Air Act by selling vehicles that are spewing excessive levels of harmful pollution into the atmosphere.

Read the full EPA Notice of Violation

Read the full CARB Notice of Violation


List of Affected Vehicles

Affected Fiat Chrysler Vehicles

Make and Model(s)

  • Ram 1500 – Model Year 2014
  • Jeep Grand Cherokee – Model Year 2014
  • Ram 1500 – Model Year 2015
  • Jeep Grand Cherokee – Model Year 2015
  • Ram 1500 – Model Year 2016
  • Jeep Grand Cherokee – Model Year 2016

Settlement registration is available for 2014-2016 Ram 1500 and Jeep Grand Cherokee 3.0-liter “EcoDiesel” vehicle owners and lessees at ecodieselsettlement.com.

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