A federal judge in San Francisco has ordered the U.S. Justice Department and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV to start new talks with a court-appointed settlement master to attempt to settle the government’s civil suit concerning the Italian-American automaker’s diesel vehicle emissions.
The Justice Department is looking for “substantial” civil fines from the automaker in a suit submitted in May 2017 alleging the company of illegally utilizing software that resulted in excess emissions in 104,000 U.S. diesel vehicles sold since 2014.
A person briefed on the matter stated the government and Fiat Chrysler have reached agreement on nearly all aspects of a settlement following months of lengthy talks but remain “hundreds of millions of dollars” apart on how huge the fines will be.
In a written order, Judge Edward Chen has instructed both sides to “fully cooperate and communicate” with settlement master Ken Feinberg “in light of the delay in resolving the United States’ case”. Feinberg was ordered “to engage directly with the parties and put his best effort in putting settlement negotiations, including terms of any monetary relief.”
Feinberg has scheduled a new round of talks with all sides for December 3 in Washington, the person knowledgeable about the matter stated.
Feinberg refused to comment, saying Chen’s order speaks for itself. Fiat Chrysler had no comment as of now.