Judge Gives Green Light to Emissions-Cheating Class-Action Lawsuit Against Mercedes and Bosch


Lawsuit’s RICO and consumer harm claims allowed to continue as defendants’ motions to dismiss are denied

NEWARK – An opinion issued by U.S. District Judge Jose L. Linares has given the green light to a class-action lawsuit accusing Mercedes and Bosch of widespread diesel emissions-cheating akin to Volkswagen’s Dieselgate scandal, according to attorneys at Hagens Berman.

The opinion, filed Feb. 1, 2019, largely denied Mercedes’ motions to dismiss the case’s core class-action claims including consumer harm and RICO fraud. The judge’s decision allows the case to continue past a major hurdle, potentially bringing massive relief to tens of thousands of owners of Mercedes’ BlueTEC diesel automobiles.

“We are incredibly pleased with the court’s ruling in our emissions-cheating case against Mercedes and Bosch that has allowed most of plaintiffs’ claims to continue forward on behalf of all BlueTEC owners,” said Steve Berman, managing partner of Hagens Berman and attorney representing vehicle owners in the class action. “We have worked hard to address the court’s thoughtful concerns throughout this case and look forward to continuing to prove our case of emissions-cheating.”

The emissions-cheating lawsuit against Mercedes was originally filed Feb. 25, 2016 in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey by Hagens Berman, the same firm that worked to achieve the $14.7 billion Volkswagen Dieselgate settlement, and was the first firm to file suit against Volkswagen in that matter. The firm has also pioneered emissions-cheating lawsuits against Audi, BMW, Fiat Chrysler, Ford and General Motors, and conducted independent research and testing in each case.

According to the lawsuit, Mercedes joined forces with Bosch to program its BlueTEC vehicles to release illegally high, dangerous levels of emissions via a defeat device similar to the one used by Volkswagen. This defeat device turned off or limited emissions reductions during real-world driving conditions but not during vehicle emissions tests.

In his opinion, Judge Linares noted that defendants had a duty to disclose the defeat device, saying disclosure would be reasonably expected, “where the nondisclosure of those facts amounts to taking advantage of the plaintiffs ignorance, such that it would be ‘shocking to the ethical sense of the community, and [would be] so extreme and unfair, as to amount to a form of swindling’... It is this Court's opinion that Mercedes and Bosch's active concealment of the existence of the defeat device amounts to such a situation.”

The complaint accuses Mercedes of deceiving consumers by failing to disclose the defeat device despite marketing its BlueTEC vehicles as “the world’s cleanest and most advanced diesel” cars that reduced NOx by 90 percent. According to the complaint, on-road testing confirmed that Mercedes’ BlueTEC cars produced average on-road NOx emissions that are 19 times higher than the U.S. standard, with some instantaneous readings as high as 65 times more than the U.S. limit, a fact that Mercedes and Bosch concealed from the public.

Indeed, the court found that “Plaintiffs have plausibly pled that the products received did not live up to the claims made by Defendants,” and that “benefit of the bargain damages are recoverable for overpayment and recoverable to confer standing,” finding that plaintiffs properly pled that those who bought BlueTEC vehicles overpaid for them based on the concealed, emissions-cheating defeat device.

“Like Volkswagen, Mercedes tried to scam consumers by green-washing its line of diesel cars,” Berman said. “With the help of some crafty marketing, and Bosch’s defeat device, the duo set out to rake in profits from unknowing purchasers.”

Affected Models

The lawsuit alleges that the following Mercedes models powered by BlueTEC diesel-fueled engines are affected by the unlawful, unfair, deceptive and otherwise defective emission controls utilized by Mercedes. Contact Hagens Berman to find out your rights if you purchased or leased one of the following affected BlueTEC vehicles:

  • ML 320
  • ML 350
  • GL 320
  • E320
  • S350
  • R320
  • E Class
  • GL Class
  • ML Class
  • R Class
  • S Class
  • GLK Class
  • GLE Class
  • Sprinter

Mercedes owners and lessors can also find more information about the case at Hagens Berman’s Mercedes Owners Hub, including an FAQ about the Mercedes emissions lawsuit.

The suit alleges that Mercedes’ and Bosch’s actions violated numerous state consumer-rights laws, as well as the Racketeer Influence and Corrupt Organization Act (RICO). The suit also states that the automaker’s omissions and misrepresentations constitute fraudulent concealment.

Find out more about the class-action lawsuit against Mercedes.

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About Hagens Berman
Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro LLP is a consumer-rights class-action law firm with 10 offices across the country. The firm’s tenacious drive for plaintiffs’ rights has earned it numerous national accolades, awards and titles of “Most Feared Plaintiff’s Firm,” and MVPs and Trailblazers of class-action law. More about the law firm and its successes can be found at www.hbsslaw.com. Follow the firm for updates and news at @ClassActionLaw.

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Ashley Klann

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Case Timeline

03/15/19: Amended Complaint Filed

Hagens Berman filed a fifth amended complaint against Mercedes-Benz on Mar. 15, 2019.

05/15/18: Case Update

In November 2017, Mercedes and Bosch filed motions to dismiss Hagens Berman’s fourth consolidated and amended complaint. These motions are routinely used by large companies during this type of litigation, and we expect the case to continue. Attorneys representing BlueTEC owners responded to the motions in January 2018, and Mercedes and Bosch filed their replies in February 2018.  The briefing on the motion is complete.

We are now awaiting the Court’s ruling on the motion to dismiss.  We are unable to provide an estimate as to when the court will issue its ruling on the motions to dismiss, as federal courts’ timelines can be unpredictable.  We will update this page after the Court issues its ruling.

09/25/17: Amended Complaint Filed

Hagens Berman filed a fourth amended complaint against Mercedes-Benz on Sept. 25, 2017. 

07/26/17: Hagens Berman Issues Update Following Europe Daimler Investigation

Daimler has been summoned by a German committee of lawmakers investigating emissions. Prosecutors are examining the possible use of illegal software to manipulate emissions tests in Mercedes-Benz vehicles sold in Europe and the U.S. Daimler has also recalled 3 million of its vehicles in Europe.

Our legal team is aware of these recent developments coming from Europe in the emissions-cheating investigation surrounding Mercedes, and we are following them closely as we continue to aggressively pursue owners' claims here in the U.S.

12/16/16: Amended Complaint

Hagens Berman filed an amended complaint to address the court’s limited pleading concerns that Plaintiffs failed to show they had seen and relied on misleading ads and the Mercedes website prior to purchasing their vehicles.  

04/07/16: Hagens Berman named interim class counsel

On Apr. 7, 2016, U.S. District Judge Jose L. Linares appointed Hagens Berman as interim class counsel in the case against Mercedes concerning emissions of its BlueTEC diesel vehicles.

02/29/16: EPA Requests Info From Mercedes

On Monday, Feb. 29, 2016, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requested information from Daimler's luxury car brand Mercedes-Benz to explain emissions levels in some of its cars. According to news, the inquiry was prompted by the class-action lawsuit filed by Hagens Berman on Feb. 18, 2016.