This class action lawsuit claims that certain Dodge and Jeep vehicles sold in the United States since 2014 have a “defeat device” that reduces emissions during testing to give the appearance that the vehicles have low emissions that adhere to EPA regulations and the Clean Air Act.
According to the EPA, Fiat Chrysler installed “defeat devices” in 2014-2016 Dodge Ram 1500s and 2014-2016 Jeep Grand Cherokees. The devices work by switching on the full emissions control systems in the car only when the car is undergoing periodic emissions testing. When the device is being used, the vehicles acceleration, torque, and fuel efficiency is reduced so that the emissions meet federal regulations. Once the emissions testing is over, the device shuts off most of the emissions control systems in the car. This may have made the vehicles more fun and economical to drive, by it allowed the vehicles to send excess nitrogen oxide emissions into the environment.
Nitrogen oxides are formed by the reaction or nitrogen, oxygen, and hydrocarbons during combustion, especially at high temperatures. Many cities globally have high levels of nitrogen oxides in their air due to heavy traffic. This is the main source of urban smog. Nitrogen oxides also contribute to phenomena such as acid rain that has negative impacts on health, the environment, and the economy.
One plaintiff in this lawsuit, R.D. Warren, is a resident of Jefferson County, Alabama. He purchased a new 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee equipped with the diesel engine. His vehicle contains the “defeat device.” If he had known the truth about the vehicle, he would have not purchased it. Fiat Chrysler will not be able to make his vehicle comply with emissions standards without permanently reducing the performance characteristics of the vehicle, including horsepower and efficiency. Further, the economic value of his vehicle has been significantly reduced due to the loss of performance.
Based on the facts of the case, plaintiffs allege that Fiat Chrysler committed the following violations: