The US Supreme Court rejected two appeals from Volkswagen AG, the German automobile manufacturer, regarding emissions tampering. The justices sought the views of the federal government, and, after review, turned down both cases raised by Volkswagen.
Volkswagen claimed in both of the appeals that the Clean Air Act provides protection for automobile manufacturers from state and local liability over updating vehicle emission testing systems. Volkswagen argued that the rebuttals from the states of Florida and Utah, using laws that bar tampering with emissions systems, were one-sided and that their vehicle software updates continually reduce emissions. However, the lawsuits accused VW of deceiving the EPA – and in doing so also violating the local laws
Volkswagen subsidiary Volkswagen Group of America Inc has argued that under the Clean Air Act, the landmark U.S. environmental law, only the federal government can pursue such claims. VW noted that it already has reached a settlement of more than $20 billion with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
The 9th Circuit decided that the Clean Air Act did not preempt local efforts to impose liability over vehicles that VW had tampered with after they were sold. The 9th Circuit, however, agreed with VW that it could not be held liable under the local anti-tampering laws for actions it took pre-sale.