Lawsuit Accuses General Motors of Cheating on Emissions Tests

emissions, Naperville business law attorneyThere is little question that most business owners are always looking for ways to gain an edge on their competition. For some, this may mean elevating the level of personal customer service; for others, finding cost-saving opportunities in the production process could provide the needed advantage. The vast majority of companies do their best to operate within the law to remain competitive in the marketplace. Some, however, are more willing to bend—or even break—the rules to increase profitability.

In my practice as a business law attorney, I have helped many commercial and corporate clients with issues concerning regulatory compliance. I understand that in some situations, guidelines issued by local, state, and federal authorities may seem unreasonable, but they are in place for a reason and they must be followed. Failure to do so can result in serious consequences, as a major automaker may soon discover.

More Than 700,000 Vehicles in Question

A lawsuit was filed in a federal court in Michigan this week claiming that General Motors installed devices on diesel trucks that allowed them to get around emissions testing standards. The suit makes GM the fifth automaker to be accused of cheating diesel emissions tests in less than two years and comes on the heels of a lawsuit filed by the federal government against Fiat Chrysler for similar issues.

According to the complaint—which was filed as a class action on behalf of 705,000 owners and lessees—GM’s heavy-duty pickup trucks equipped with Duramax diesel engines were built including software that deceptively controlled their emissions output. The suit alleges that during emissions testing, which is often conducted under very controlled conditions, the software dials back an engine’s performance so that it meets regulatory standards. Under real-world conditions, however, the trucks’ emissions are up to four to five times higher than the allowable maximums.

The Importance of Regulations

Diesel engines are used widely in the American trucking industry and throughout the world for a variety of applications. They are generally more fuel-efficient than standard gasoline engines but spew more pollutants into the atmosphere. Federal emissions standards were created to control the amount of damage being done to the environment. In order to meet the requirements, many diesel engines are forced to sacrifice a percentage of their possible power output as well as some of their fuel efficiency.

Industry and financial experts point out that while the lawsuit is certainly a concern, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has not endorsed the action against GM—at least not yet. Some analysts have even expressed the possibility that this could be an attempt at extracting a settlement from the American automaker. That tune would likely change quickly if the EPA gets involved.

Seek Help With Regulatory Compliance

Regardless of the how this case plays out, the fact remains that complying with local, state, and federal regulations is crucial to the success of your company. If you have questions about compliance or need help amending your compliance strategies, contact an experienced Naperville business law attorney. Call The Gierach Law Firm at 630-756-1160 today.



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