Lawsuit Raises RICO Claim for Alleged Illegal Emissions Devices in Ram Trucks

Lawsuit Raises RICO Claim for Alleged Illegal Emissions Devices in Ram Trucks

  • By: Staff Writer
  • Published January 4, 2024

A class action lawsuit has been filed seeking to hold FCA US, LLC, and Cummins, Inc. liable for allegedly making and selling 2013-2023 Ram 2500 and 3500 diesel trucks with unauthorized emission control devices. 

Class Allegations

According to the complaint filed December 27, these emission control devices “illegally bypass, render inoperative, or otherwise reduce the effectiveness of” the emission control system in those trucks.  The devices allow the trucks “pass” emissions inspections while emitting high, illegal levels of pollutants.

This lawsuit states it follows a Justice Department announcement on December 21 that it had reached an agreement with Cummins Inc.—which designs and manufactures the diesel engines in all the class trucks—to settle claims that Cummins Inc. unlawfully altered hundreds of thousands of engines in the past decade to bypass emissions tests in violation of the Clean Air Act.  The Justice Department will reportedly require Cummins to pay a civil penalty of $1.675 billion.

Proposed Classes

The lawsuit seeks to establish two classes:

  1. A nationwide class comprised of “[a]ll persons or entities in the United States who own, owned, lease, and/or lease a Class Truck as of December 23, 2023.  Class Trucks include 2013 to 2023 Ram 2500 and Ram 3500 pickups equipped with a Cummins 6.7-Liter diesel engine.”
  2. A California subclass, comprised of “[a]ll persons or entities in the state of California who own, owned, lease, and/or leased a Class Truck as of December 23, 2023.”

Legal Claims

The complaint asserts the defendants violated the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act by participating in racketeering activity in selling the trucks with illegal emissions control devices and extracting billions of dollars from the class members as a result.  The plaintiffs also raise claims including violation of California consumer laws and breach of warranty.

The lawsuit requests remedies including restitution, damages, and attorney fees.

The case is Frank Biederman, et al. v. FCA US, LLC, et al., case number 1:23-cv-06640, in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California. 

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