Robert Giuffra of Sullivan & Cromwell.
Robert Giuffra of Sullivan & Cromwell. (Photo: Andy Goodwin)

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V. has turned to the lawyer behind Volkswagen’s $14.7 billion settlement to defend claims that it used similar “defeat devices” to cheat U.S. emission regulations.

Robert Giuffra Jr. of Sullivan & Cromwell on Tuesday submitted a motion to appear in San Francisco federal court as counsel for Fiat Chrysler in a suit filed earlier this month. The complaint accuses Fiat Chrysler of installing software made by German engineering firm Bosch that masked excess emissions of nitrous oxide. Bosch also designed the software tied to VW’s emissions scandal.

While Fiat Chrysler is a longstanding client of Sullivan & Cromwell, the decision to hire Giuffra could indicate that the automaker will move quickly, as Volkswagen has, to settle the claims and compensate owners of the affected “EcoDiesel” Dodge RAM 1500 and Jeep Grand Cherokee models.

Giuffra, a veteran trial lawyer, told American Lawyer’s Litigation Daily in October that he recognized the best outcome for VW was to “get the most global settlement possible.”

Fiat so far has said it will fight the lawsuit.

Giuffra is lead counsel for Volkswagen in the pile of cases brought by car owners, dealerships and state and federal regulators after the “dieselgate” scandal. The company reached a $14.7 billion settlement that was approved in October that will allow car owners to repair or replace affected automobiles and attempts to remediate the environmental damage caused by excess emissions.

Giuffra could not immediately be reached for comment on Wednesday.

Ben Hancock can be reached at On Twitter: @benghancock.