In a significant development Volkswagen AG said, it has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to reverse an Ohio court ruling which paved the way for the state to move ahead with a lawsuit over its diesel emissions scandal.
Previously, VW had asked the U.S. Supreme Court to review an appeals court ruling that said two counties could seek diesel-related financial penalties that could amount to billions of dollars in settlements. That request is pending.
Earlier this year, in June, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled 6-1 that the federal Clean Air Act did not pre-empt state law-based claims that Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost is pursuing, or prohibit state oversight after a vehicle or engine is sold, as VW contends.
“This is a major decision that will ensure that Volkswagen can be held accountable,” said Yost in June 2021.
In court papers, VW said Ohio’s claims “could total $350 million per day, or more than $127 billion per year, over a multi-year period.”
Ohio said VW engaged in “deceptive recalls” after vehicles were sold.
Earlier this year in January, VW and supplier Robert Bosch LLC asked the U.S. high court to reverse a unanimous 9th Circuit Appeals Court ruling that said Utah’s Salt Lake County and Florida’s Hillsborough County could seek “staggering” damages over updates made to polluting diesel vehicles after they were sold.
In April, the U.S. Supreme Court invited the Justice Department to offer its views on the issue.
In 2015, VW admitted to using illegal software to evade emissions rules, and in 2017 it pleaded guilty to conspiracy and obstruction of justice.
Volkswagen’s settlements which has so far snowballed to more than $20 billion, does not shield it from local and state government liabilities, as per the appeals court.
U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer, who ruled in VW’s favor in 2018, noted VW’s “potential penalties could reach $30.6 million per day and $11.2 billion per year” in the case involving the two counties.