By on September 19, 2007

2005-5-11-traffic-copy.jpgThe major automakers are breathing a bit easier, thanks to a recent court ruling. The International Herald Tribune reports that the California federal district court has dismissed a claim against General Motors, Ford, DaimlerChrysler, Toyota, Nissan and Honda for damages caused by vehicle emissions. In its case, the State of California was demanding several billion dollars in court-ordered and civil damages on the basis that these emissions constituted a public nuisance that inflicted climate change and health-related costs. Judge Martin Jenkins, a Clinton appointee and San Francisco native, ruled against the Golden State, opining that emissions regulations were the domain of the legislature and not under the jurisdiction of the courts. The state has hinted that it may appeal the ruling. No word yet from Sacramento as to whether the state will also be filing suit against its own Department of Motor Vehicles for permitting millions of state residents to drive all of those cars, or its Department of Transportation for building the highways that they used. 

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16 Comments on “Fed Judge Tosses CA Anti-Car Lawsuit...”

  • avatar

    That was a bogus lawsuit, and I think it was more about PR than anything. I’m glad it was tossed.

    I like Adrian’s quip about suing the DMV and the DoT. About as valid as the original lawsuit. Why not add the state government to the list of defendants, for failing to sufficiently tax gasoline to support the public cost of burning the stuff? I guess suing yourself is no fun.

  • avatar

    But then we’d have to add every licensed driver as a defendant for operating these weapons of mass pollution. That surely won’t sit well with the public.

  • avatar

    Don’t forget that the state has to sue all the residents of CA, too, for actually driving said vehicles (who to prosecute, the gun company or the shooter?). Also probably they should sue the police for not pulling over all the nefarious polluters.

    With any luck, they can get a decision against the estate of Karl Benz for inventing his gas-powered 1885 Motorwagen.

  • avatar
    Virtual Insanity

    Out of curiosity, if the suit had gone through, and the appeals upheld, who would have to pay from DaimlerChrysler. Seeing as they are no longer one company…would Chrysler or Daimler get the shaft on that one?

  • avatar

    Why the stock photo of downtown Atlanta taken from the old 5th Street Bridge for a story on a California court case?

    Oh, I get it. You wanted a picture of the infamous Atlanta smog for an article about emissions.

  • avatar

    Isn’t it illegal to file frivilous lawsuits? I think the car manufacturers should collect legal fees from the state for the time and money they had to waste defending this stupidity.

  • avatar

    The shot from the cut in the hill in Kentucky facing Cincinnati on a smog alert is 10 times worse. You can’t even see the buildings in the backround just a grey haze. Those were not fun days riding to work on my motorcycle barely being able to breath.

  • avatar

    I have a great idea.

    Let’s force the California politicians to move to a 3rd world country which only has horses and demand they live there, and see what kind of “emissions” these horses put out, compared to a modern car. In case anyone wonders, 100 years ago, the automobile was lauded (and rightly so) as a terrific benefit to public health – and there were calls to get rid of horses in cities. “The horse dung dries out, gets pulverized, blows in the wind and is inhaled. This is a health hazard which the auto-mobile will place into the past-tense.” Graphic enough for you? Diseases from horse dung was rampant. Look at the death rates in the cities 100 years ago.

    How about this for another idea? If California eventually “wins” this one – then General Motors, Ford, DaimlerChrysler, Toyota, Nissan and Honda should a) refuse to buy or hire or retain anyone in the state of California and b) stop selling new cars in California and c) stop selling any auto parts in California.

    The California economy would collapse, the California public would revolt and – shall we say – lynch? the politicians responsible.

    Problem solved, eh?

  • avatar

    Uh, shouldn’t the state have sued itself for operating vehicles? I mean, the cops all drive cars or motorcycles. The Guvernator drives around in one. Each municipality operates a bus system.

    Frivilous doesn’t even begin to describe this…

  • avatar

    Wow, that pretty much epitomizes the “kookiness” of the ultra-liberals. I like the no-more-new-cars-for-CA idea. Given time the whole place would resemble the movie “Escape from L.A.” Even better, sell cars with no powertrains, just a nice set of bike pedals for every seating position! Charge $2000 higher than average MSRP naturally.

  • avatar

    This lawsuit is a result of Jerry Brown being elected as Attorney General of California, shows you the IQ level of many Californians right there. The insanity of this is so perverse one does not know where to start. In a state overrun with criminal gangs, white collar crime and general mayhem, our illustrious AG decides to do this. The state loves the tax revenue from the evil machines, just not the machines. Remember this is the same Jerry Brown as Govenor who was known as Govenor Moonbeam for a reason, and the same guy who as Mayor of Oakland, Ca. saw the murder rate go way up while he was in office. This is the land where smoking, fast food, private property and safety are becoming endangered species, and now certain idiots wants the auto to go the same way. Alice in Wonderland.

  • avatar
    Adrian Imonti

    Steve_K: Wow, that pretty much epitomizes the “kookiness” of the ultra-liberals.

    You may be taking things a bit too far here. Let’s remember which Republican Terminator governs the state as we speak. Also note that the judge in this case was a Clinton appointee and a former civil rights attorney.

    I don’t view this as a liberal-conservative issue at all. This is all about everyone’s favorite color: green. As the moment, the state is facing an enormous budget deficit and this sort of lawsuit is modeled after the rather successful tobacco litigation cases that reaped millions for state governments across the country.

    It’s just a play for easy money. Unfortunately for the boyz in Sacto, the federal courts weren’t cooperating this time.

  • avatar


    Our beloved(?) Governator is, by and large, a Republican in name only. Sure, he talked about kicking out all the lobbyists and trimming the bureaucratic fat from $acramento during his campaign, but tangible results of that rhetoric are few and far between at best.

    That being said, the fact that even a Clinton-appointed judge in Sucka Free had sense enough to toss this suit where it belongs gives me hope that our once great state isn’t sociopolitically screwed after all… *slaps self* Sorry, got optimistic there for a second.

  • avatar

    The lawsuit was a stroke of genius. I am upset it failed.

    Had it not failed, some real change in our legislatures might finally have come. Well, maybe I am too optimistic?

    Seriously, this was about grabbing money from a bunch of companies that mostly are not in California. Haven’t you ever noticed how these things usually involve one state taking money from people who mostly live elsewhere?

    New Yorkers would have frozen in the dark years ago had they not been able to continue to tax the whole country by first ripping us all off with financial schemes, and then having the legislature fine the offending company and keep all the money in state.

    Eliott Spitzer was elected because he brought home the bacon in a big way. That’s how it works these days. I guess Brown just isn’t up to Spitzer’s skill level.

  • avatar

    I thought it was Brown’s predecessor, Bill Lockyer, who brought the suit.

    Not that I think it was a brilliant move, but at least let’s not blame Gov. Moonbeam.

  • avatar

    Diseases from horse dung was rampant. Look at the death rates in the cities 100 years ago.

    I think the fall of death rates might be the result of a few other factors as well. Inoculations against common diseases, better drinking water, sewage treatment, better diet, and antibiotics come to mind.

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