Throughout the entire investigation of Volkswagen, more and more information regarding their unfair business practices came to light, as consumers learned that their emissions “safe” car was actually the exact opposite. Motorists who bought these vehicles, in order to be more environmentally friendly with a clean diesel design and a fuel efficient tank were tricked into purchasing one of these vehicles because of the sophisticated software algorithm that Volkswagen engineers installed in cars that when tested by the Environmental Protection Agency for emissions, would cause the engine to run below normal power and performance. This, in effect, would show on the test to emit low levels of nitrogen oxide, within legal limits.
However, once actually used on the road, the software would switch certain controls off so that the vehicle could run at normal power and performance levels. Consequently, this increased the emissions admitted by their cars by a factors of 40 times more than EPA permits. That means these levels, particularly of nitrogen oxide were not only environmentally unfriendly, but also have a negative effect on human health. These important aspects of consumer products–motor vehicles in particular–were surpassed by a company’s ego and greed to not compromise performance and fuel efficiency .
Class Action Lawsuits Against Volkswagen
Across the entire nation, more than 500 lawsuits involving primarily class action complaints have been targeted against Volkswagen in federal district courts. States such as Illinois, California, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, Montana and Idaho all have lawsuits filed against the German automaker. In California alone, 101 lawsuits have been brought against Volkswagen over the issue. On December 9, 2015, the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation ordered all of the pending lawsuits to be transferred and centralized for proceedings in the Northern District of California, based in San Francisco, before U.S. District Judge Charles Beyer.
The MDL Panel said it favored the Northern District of California for several reasons. The first being that 30 lawsuits against Volkswagen are pending in that district, including the first such complaint filed in the U.S. Another factor was that the selection would put the court proceedings near the headquarters of the California Air Resources Board, which the panel noted “played an important initial role in investigation and, ultimately, revealing VW’s use of the defeat devices.”
Plaintiffs in these cases are alleging that VW’s claims regarding the emissions and fuel efficiency of its “clean diesel” engines prompted them to buy the cars. Since the EPA says the road calibration mode and switch capability do not conform to the specifications Volkswagen listed in its certificate of conformity application, the complaints accuse Volkswagen of violating the Clean Air Act each time a new defective vehicle entered the sales inventory .
Pinellas County Class Action Against Volkswagen
A new case was filed on November 16, 2015, in the Circuit Court of the Sixth Judicial Circuit in Pinellas County, Florida. The plaintiffs also name car dealerships Lokey Volkswagen and Bert Smith Volkswagen as defendants. The complaint was filed by Annette Dettloff on behalf of herself and Florida consumers who purchased any of the diesel Volkswagen, Porsche, or Audi vehicles containing the emissions defeat devices.
In her specific complaint, she states that she visited the Lokey Volkswagen auto dealer in November 2012 in efforts to possibly buy a new 2013 Volkswagen Passat. She test drove the vehicle in the standard gasoline engine and the clean diesel engine. The salesperson at the time promoted the diesel option, and made “material misrepresentation and oversights regarding the performance, fuel efficiency, and emissions” of the vehicle. As such, due to this information, she made the decision to buy the diesel Passat on December 1, 2012 from Bert Smith Volkswagen. She stated that this car dealership and the salespeople that worked there echoed the same sentiments that the Lokey salesperson stated about the performance of the vehicle.
She alleges that there was no way that she could have known at the time that the Passat contained an illegal defeat device that “concealed the true level of pollutants emitted when the vehicle was being tested for emissions levels.” If she knew about the device, then she wouldn’t have bought the car .
Dolman Law Group
After Volkswagen admitted their guilt, loads of lawsuits began to pool together in an effort to reap damages and benefits from the motor vehicle manufacturer. These lawsuits are looking for Volkswagen to buy back the cars and pay for excess damages that are particular to each individual suit. The plaintiff in the specific case in Pinellas says that Volkswagen sold defective vehicles to consumers for a premium price, misleading them into believing they were buying compliant vehicles when actually the vehicles were out of compliance with EPA regulations.
Bottom line is that the defeat device was specifically made to surpass the EPA without the public knowing and to gain the benefits of more expensive cars.
Therefore, if you or a loved one purchased a vehicle, believing the deceptive remarks of an environmentally damaging car by Volkswagen, you may have a claim to pursue. As more people are coming forward, the MDL in California may affect the outcome of complaints here at home. It’s best to call the experienced personal injury lawyers at Dolman Law Group to represent your claim now. We can evaluate your claim for free and will not pick up a reward if there is no recovery free. Call us today at (727) 853-6275.
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