Fiat Chrysler Diesel Emissions Class Action
This case alleges that Fiat Chrysler Automobiles unlawfully installed hidden devices (called “defeat devices”) in certain cars that they sold to the public.
The defeat devices allegedly shut down the cars’ emission control systems outside regulatory testing circumstances. As such, the cars were able to pass emission tests but polluted excessively when driven on the road.
Bosch and its related companies supplied the vehicles’ engine control computers that allegedly housed the defeat devices and are named as defendants in the case. Also named are the dealers which sold the vehicles.
The Plaintiffs allege that the defendants’ conduct breached Canadian environmental, consumer protection, and other laws.
The Court will decide at a later date if the case will proceed as a class action.
The case seeks to represent all persons in Canada who purchased or leased any of the following diesel vehicles: Jeep Grand Cherokees and Dodge Ram 1500 (model years 2014-2016).
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Fiat Chrysler Diesel Emissions: Updates
- August 19, 2021: The plaintiffs completed filing their materials for their motion for leave to appeal to the Court of Appeal.
- June 9, 2021: The Divisional Court dismissed the plaintiffs’ appeal of the denial of certification. The decision can be found here. The plaintiffs are considering next steps.
- November 19, 2020: The plaintiffs perfected their appeal of the dismissal of the certification motion. The hearing of the appeal is scheduled before the Divisional Court for April 29, 2021.
- October 16, 2020: The plaintiffs served and filed their notice of appeal, seeking to appeal the dismissal of the certification motion.
- September 18, 2020: The Court dismissed the plaintiffs’ motion for certification on the basis that there was no evidence of consumer harm. A copy of the decision can be found here.
The decision relates to all current and former Canadian owners and lessees of the affected vehicles, except Quebec residents whose claims are being prosecuted separately.
The plaintiffs intend to appeal the Court’s decision. Please stay tuned for updates.
- July 13, 2020: The Court will hear the continuation of the plaintiffs’ certification motion on September 10-11, 2020.
- May 7, 2020: A Case Conference will be held with Justice Belobaba on May 15, 2020, further to the adjournment of the hearing in February 2020; the Plaintiffs will request a continuation and completion of the certification request.
- February 12-13, 2020: The Court heard arguments about some portions of the plaintiffs’ certification motion. The rest of the hearing was adjourned until a future date, to be determined.
- January 23, 2020: The plaintiffs’ motion for certification will be heard in Toronto on February 12-13, 2020.
- October 9, 2019: The plaintiffs amended the claim to reflect problems arising from an FCA recall to re-program the Vehicles’ emission control mechanisms. You can find a copy of the Amended Amended Fresh Statement of Claim here.
- July 2, 2019: Fiat Chrysler (FCA) has settled the class action lawsuit brought against it in the United States about the same diesel emissions cheating allegations. As part of that settlement, FCA is paying its American customers up to US$3,075 in compensation, and performing a software reprogramming to the vehicles’ emission system backed by an extended warranty.
Although the applicable emissions regulations and the vehicles are identical in Canada, FCA has not settled this proposed Canadian class action. It has recalled affected vehicles in Canada to perform the software reprogramming, but is not offering monetary compensation or an extended warranty to Canadian vehicle owners.
As a result of the confusion caused by this recall in Canada as well as the potential legal implications of the recall for Canadians, we applied to the court for an order requiring FCA to send a notice to all Canadian vehicle owners and lessees clarifying the effect of the recall. In its response, FCA confirmed that it would not seek a release from Canadian owners and lessees who choose to take their vehicles to FCA dealers for this software reprogramming. The Court dismissed the plaintiffs’ request.
There is no legal impediment at this time to the Canadian owners and lessees obtaining the software reprogramming insofar as this proposed class action is concerned. However, we are not in a position to advise whether the software reprogramming will have an impact on the affected vehicles’ performance or fuel efficiency.
- April 11, 2019: Certification motion is scheduled for February 11-13, 2020, before The Honourable Justice Belobaba.
- January 17, 2019: The plaintiffs filed the Amended Fresh Statement of Claim with leave from the Honourable Justice Belobaba.
- December 28, 2018: The Superior Court of Justice granted the plaintiffs’ opposed motion to amend the claim. You can find a copy of the Court’s decision here. The Court’s Order can be found here.
- January 5, 2018: The plaintiffs issued a Fresh Statement of Claim by Order of the Honourable Paul Perell of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice. You can find a copy of the Fresh Statement of Claim here. You can find a copy of the Order here.
- June 2, 2017: The plaintiffs’ Motion Record on Certification was served on the defendants.
Fiat Chrysler Diesel Emissions: Documents
- Amended Amended Fresh Statement of Claim (October 9, 2019)
- Amended Fresh Statement of Claim (January 17, 2019)
- Reasons of Justice Belobaba (December 28, 2018)
- Order of Justice Belobaba (December 21, 2018)
- Fresh Statement of Claim (January 5, 2018)
- Order of Justice Perell (December 22, 2017)
- Statement of Claim (February 15, 2017)
- Notice of Action (January 16, 2017)
Fiat Chrysler Diesel Emissions: News
Frequently Asked Questions
A class action is a special form of lawsuit in which one plaintiff brings a claim against one or more defendants based on allegations which are common to a group, or class, of people. In order for the action to become a class action, it must proceed through a stage known as “certification”.
A statement of claim is issued on behalf of a “representative plaintiff”. The representative plaintiff’s role is to work with class counsel to bring the action forward and to represent the class members in court.
In order for an action to proceed on behalf of the entire class, a judge must decide (among other things) whether the members of the proposed class have common issues, and whether a class action is the preferred way to resolve the issues. The process to decide these issues is known as the “certification motion”. If the judge is satisfied that the case meets all of the requirements for certification, he or she will issue an order which certifies the action as a class action.
No. If the lawsuit is certified, and you are included in the class as defined, you are automatically included in the lawsuit.
No. We will work primarily with the class representative.
Those who do not wish to remain in the class will be given the option to opt-out by sending an opt-out form at the appropriate time to us.
Certification as a class action will enable us to prove the facts in a single lawsuit rather than in numerous individual lawsuits. This has obvious benefits to the class members and to the courts.
There is no timeframe. We will move the case forward diligently but it can take a considerable period of time to reach trial.
Many class actions settle and thereby remove the need for a trial. However, we cannot predict with any certainty whether or not there will be a settlement in a given action.
The chances of “winning” can never be accurately predicted.
Class action lawsuits are typically brought on a contingency fee basis. This means that the lawyers will only be paid if the action is successful at trial or results in a settlement in favour of the plaintiffs. Legal fees would then be paid out of the settlement or judgment proceeds as approved by a judge.
Disbursements (i.e. out-of-pocket expenses, including expert reports) may be dealt with in one of two ways.
Most commonly, the lawyers will absorb the cost of disbursements. The lawyers may seek funding assistance from the Class Proceeding Fund, which may provide funding for disbursements if granted.
In some cases, disbursements may be funded by the class members, including the class representative. This typically occurs in smaller class actions brought on behalf of an organization or network of individuals where each member of the class is easily identifiable and known to the representative plaintiff. If the class action is successful, amounts advanced for disbursements are re-paid from the proceeds of any judgment or settlement to class members (and others).
Only the class representative may be liable for costs of the common issues portion of the action if it is unsuccessful.
A “payout” or an award for damages is never certain.
The action may settle or it may proceed to trial, at which time a judge will determine the amount of damages, if any, to which the class members are entitled to. Regardless, the amount of “payout” cannot be predicted, and we cannot predict when the action may settle or when the trial will conclude.
If the lawsuit is certified as a class action, you will receive a formal notice from the court explaining the nature of the case and providing you with the opportunity to opt out if you wish. General information about the lawsuit will be posted on Sotos LLP’s website at https://www.sotosclassactions.com.
We ask that you keep a copy of any documents, correspondences, records, invoices, receipts, etc. that you feel might be relevant to your individual claim in the class action. If there is a “payout,” this documentation may be required in order to support your claim for compensation.
It is not required that you send any documents to us at this time.