California Sues Automaker Over Emissions
I have to say, the idea that California is suing Ford, GM, and Toyota over the emissions from the vehicles they have manufactured strikes me as…well a stupid waste of time and resources.
SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – California filed suit against Ford Motor Co., General Motors Corp., Toyota Motor Corp. and three other carmakers on Wednesday, charging that greenhouse gases from their vehicles have cost the state millions of dollars.
State Attorney General Bill Lockyer said the lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Northern California was the first of its kind to seek to hold manufacturers liable for the damages caused by their vehicles’ emissions.
The lawsuit also names Chrysler Motors Corp., the U.S. arm of Germany’s DaimlerChrysler, and the North American units of Honda Motor Co. and Nissan Motor Co. Ltd.
What is wrong with this? The cars are not in anyway defective. That is they worked precisely as advertised and it isn’t Toyota’s, GM’s, or Ford’s fault that people in California bought the cars and drive them. This is very much like suing gun manufacturers when a family member is shot by a gun the manufacturer made. My understanding is that these suits rarely if ever go very far since it has to be demonstrated that the product some sort of inherent defect. Of course, I’m not a lawyer, and California has had some really dippy court outcomes (think O.J. Simpson, Robert Blake, and probably several other I’ve thankfully forgotten about) so this could actually lead somewhere. Where I don’t want to know.
Update: Thanks to commenter yetanotherjohn for reminding me that this is indeed likely nothing more than a cheap political stunt for Lockyer, who just coincidentally is running for State Treasurer (see here also).