SAN FRANCISCO—A judge in San Francisco federal district court has denied the motion of Robert Bosch GmbH and Robert Bosch L.L.C. to dismiss Bosch from the Volkswagen "Dieselgate" class action lawsuit.
The case is a multidistrict litigation brought by VW franchise dealerships, claiming that Bosch conspired with the auto maker in 2005 to install "defeat devices" in Volkswagen TDI vehicles that caused falsely low readings of diesel emissions levels.
Attorneys for the franchise dealers also claim that Bosch collaborated with Volkswagen AG in a scheme to promote the TDI vehicles as environmentally friendly and compliant with government emissions standards worldwide.
The lawsuit accuses Bosch of violating the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act in its alleged collusion with VW, according to Hagens Berman, the law firm representing the franchise dealers.
In upholding RICO claims against Bosch, the court also upheld trebling of damages against the company, a Hagens Berman press release said.
In a statement, Bosch said it was disappointed in the San Francisco court's Oct. 30 decision.
"The court was required to accept as true the allegations in the plaintiffs' complaint, many of which were without foundation," the company said. "Bosch takes seriously the allegations of manipulations of diesel emissions and is cooperating with investigations of these matters in multiple jurisdictions."
In his order, District Court Judge Charles R. Breyer agreed with the plaintiffs on all points.
"The court concludes that the Franchise Dealers' claims are well pled and that none of Bosch's arguments warrant dismissal at the pleading stage," Breyer wrote.
Applying the standards of RICO, "the Franchise Dealers have plausibly alleged multiple injuries to their business and property interests, and these injuries are sufficiently concrete to survive a motion to dismiss," Breyer wrote.
Bosch also did not persuade Breyer that trying the case in the U.S. instead of Germany would be an unreasonable hardship to the company. Trying the case in the U.S. would not deprive Bosch of due process, he said.
This is the second recent high-profile court case involving Bosch. On Oct. 13, Bosch announced it had won a federal court case involving product counterfeiting.
Judge Donald M. Middlebrooks of the Miami federal district court granted a permanent injunction against SIC Autoparts L.L.C. from making or selling any products bearing the Bosch trademark.
Bosch had accused SIC of selling canister purge valves and other auto parts that bore the Bosch trademark but were not manufactured by Bosch.