— Volkswagen has paid nearly $35 billion for equipping diesel vehicles with illegal emissions defeat devices, but the automaker likely views that amount as chump change based on what is possible if even one of two court case rulings stand.
Volkswagen is seeking help from the U.S. Supreme Court to reverse a previous ruling that if allowed to stand, could cost the automaker $70 billion.
The automaker's request to the U.S. Supreme Court is simple: Reverse an appeals court ruling that granted two counties the right to seek "staggering" damages for updates made to diesel vehicles after they were sold.
The lawsuit was filed by Salt Lake County Utah and Hillsborough County Florida and originally dismissed in 2018. The case was appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit which ruled against VW and supplier Robert Bosch.
VW says the appeals court ruling will send automakers and dealerships into "regulatory chaos," and even the Ninth Circuit admitted its "conclusion may result in staggering liability for Volkswagen."
Additionally, VW says the appeals court decision will cause lawsuits to be filed by every county in the country and "will severely compromise the EPA’s ability to regulate auto emissions."
And in a case before the Ohio Supreme Court, Volkswagen is looking at claims that could "total $350 million per day, or more than $127 billion per year, over a multi-year period."
The state of Ohio filed suit based on allegedly deceptive updates and recalls of 2009-2015 diesel vehicles that were illegally marketed and sold to 14,000 Ohio residents.
VW argues Ohio cannot regulate automakers because that job belongs to the federal government and the U.S. Clean Air Act.
As with the lawsuit involving counties in Florida and Utah, the Ohio case was originally dismissed but revived by an appeals court, this time by the Ohio Tenth District Court of Appeals.
The appeals court said the federal Clean Air Act applied to the VW vehicles when they were sold as new. But the Act allegedly has nothing to do with emissions regulations for vehicles already on the roads.
Read about the Volkswagen emissions scandal.