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Fiat Chrysler, Bosch agree to pay US$66m in diesel legal fees
[WASHINGTON] Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV and Robert Bosch have agreed to pay lawyers representing owners of US diesel vehicles US$66 million in fees and costs, according to court filing on Wednesday and people briefed on the matter.
In a court filing late on Wednesday in US District Court in San Francisco, lawyer Elizabeth Cabraser said after negotiations overseen by court-appointed settlement master Ken Feinberg, the companies agreed not to oppose an award of US$59 million in lawyers' fees and US$7 million in costs.
The lawyers had originally sought up to US$106.5 million in fees and costs.
Under a settlement announced last month, Fiat Chrysler and Bosch, which provided emissions control software for the Fiat Chrysler vehicles, will give 104,000 diesel owners up to US$307.5 million or about US$2,800 per vehicle for diesel software updates.
The legal fees are on top of those costs. Fiat Chrysler and Bosch did not immediately comment late on Wednesday.
Fiat Chrysler is paying up to US$280 million, or 90 per cent of the settlement costs, and Bosch is paying US$27.5 million, or 10 per cent. The companies are expected to divide the lawyer costs under the same formula, meaning Fiat Chrysler will pay US$60 million and Bosch US$6 million, the people briefed on the settlement said.
US District Judge Edward Chen must still approve the legal fees. He has set a May 3 hearing on a motion to grant final approval.
The Italian-American carmaker on Jan 10 announced it settled with the US Justice Department, California and diesel owners over civil claims that it used illegal software that produced false results on diesel-emissions tests.
Fiat Chrysler previously estimated the value of the settlements at about US$800 million.
Fiat Chrysler is also paying US$311 million in total civil penalties and issuing extended warranties worth US$105 million, among other costs.
The settlement covers 104,000 Ram 1500 and Jeep Grand Cherokee diesels from the model years 2014 to 2016.
In addition, Fiat Chrysler will pay US$72.5 million for state civil penalties and US$33.5 million to California to offset excess emissions and consumer claims.
The hefty penalty was the latest fallout from the US government's stepped-up enforcement of vehicle emissions rules after Volkswagen AG admitted in September 2015 to intentionally evading emissions rules.
The Justice Department has a pending criminal investigation against Fiat Chrysler.