Hagens Berman Expands Class-Action Suit Against Volkswagen for Emissions-Cheating Software


Consumer-rights law firm seeking information from vehicle owners

SEATTLE National consumer-rights law firm, Hagens Berman, filed a class-action lawsuit against Volkswagen’s U.S. manufacturer and distributor, and is continuing to expand its national suit alleging that the automaker deceived consumers by using software to cheat emissions tests, allowing its “CleanDiesel” vehicles to emit nitrogen oxides (NOx) at levels 40 times higher than legal limits during normal use.

In the suit filed Sept. 18, 2015 – the first filed against VW regarding its use of fraudulent software – an owner of a CleanDiesel Volkswagen accused Volkswagen Group of America of fraudulent concealment, false advertising and violations of federal and state laws.  Hagens Berman has filed another lawsuit with clients from more than 20 states on Monday, Sept. 21, 2015, and expects to have cases on file for every state by the end of this week. The firm expects to have representatives from all states following an unprecedented response from the first filed complaint.

After receiving over a thousand inquiries from outraged owners of VW and Audi “CleanDiesel” cars, the firm is continuing to expand its lawsuit and is seeking information from affected owners in all 50 states. If you own one of the vehicles listed below, contact our legal team now.

According to the EPA, Volkswagen installed its deceptive software, called a “defeat device,” in at least the following diesel models of its vehicles: Jetta CleanDiesel (model years 2009 – 2015), Jetta Sportswagen (model years 2009 – 2014), Beetle and Beetle convertible CleanDiesel (model years 2012 – 2015), Audi A3 TDI (model years 2010 – 2015), Golf CleanDiesel (model years 2010 – 2015), Golf Sportswagen CleanDiesel (model year 2015), and Passat CleanDiesel (model years 2012 – 2015).

The lawsuit states that during normal operation, these vehicles emit NOx at up to 40 times the standard allowed under U.S. laws and regulations. During emissions tests, the software in the Volkswagen and Audi diesel vehicles detects testing, and turns on full emissions controls, but only during the test.

“The half-a-million people who own these cars are furious, and with good reason,” said Steve Berman, managing partner of Hagens Berman. “Not only did they pay more for something they never received, but they’ve been victim to a tremendous act of deception. Volkswagen marketed these cars as clean, even calling them ‘CleanDiesel,’ while knowingly implementing this software to cheat emissions tests. And it chose to target the group of consumers who care most about being environmentally conscious.”

Berman, who was lead counsel in the $1.6 billion Toyota settlement for plaintiffs who suffered loss of vehicle value, and took on GM following its ignition switch defect recalls, said, “The economic loss in this case against Volkswagen rivals that of GM and Toyota.”

The firm has continued to receive responses from consumers who feel that Volkswagen has committed consumer fraud, leaving them with either an illegally polluting car, or a recalled, underperforming vehicle. In both cases the car is now worth less than what they originally paid. In angry emails from CleanDiesel owners, consumers have stated:

  • I paid a premium for a Golf TDI because I was promised that it was "Clean Diesel." I was told that the emissions were better than a standard gas automobile. In addition, I was also promised high fuel economy. I now feel I have been defrauded by these claims.
  • I trusted VW on the performance, handling, efficiency, resale, historic durability of diesel, and 'eco friendliness' of this car and I feel completely deceived. I'm concerned that when it comes time for 'the fix,' I will be left with a crippled vehicle that has absolutely no power or resale value. I'm embarrassed to drive this on the road.
  • We strive to protect the environment and feel that we have been completely taken advantage of by VW's false and misleading advertising.
  • I am leasing a diesel VW Golf. I made a $7,000 down payment and am currently paying almost $350/mo for this car. It turns out this car is not at all what I thought I was buying. I would never have spent so much on a car with such high emissions of harmful gases. 

From reference to Volkswagen’s MSRP on its website, vehicle owners who purchased Volkswagen’s diesel vehicles paid anywhere from $1,000 to $7,000 more for vehicles with the diesel engines, as opposed to the same models with standard gas engines.

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About Hagens Berman
Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro LLP is a consumer-rights class-action law firm with offices in 10 cities. The firm has been named to the National Law Journal’s Plaintiffs’ Hot List eight times. More about the law firm and its successes can be found at www.hbsslaw.com. Follow the firm for updates and news at @ClassActionLaw.

Media Contact
Ashley Klann

Hagens Berman purchases advertisements on search engines, social media sites and other websites. Transmission of the information contained or available through this website is not intended to create, and receipt does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship. If you seek legal advice or representation by Hagens Berman, you must first enter a formal agreement. All information contained in any transmission is confidential and Hagens Berman agrees to protect information against unauthorized use, publication or disclosure. This site is regulated by the Washington Rules of Professional Conduct.

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Did you sell your CleanDiesel vehicle before news of the scandal broke on 9/18/15?
You may be entitled to compensation.

05/17/17: Case Update

The court issued final approval orders for the 3.0-liter settlement and the Bosch settlement.

To determine if your vehicle is included in the Settlements go to VWCourtsettlement.com and enter your Vehicle Identification (“VIN”). Class members will be able to submit claims through the Online Claims Portal 15 business days after the final approval order is issued by the court. 

If you submit a claim for your vehicle under the 3.0-liter settlement, you will automatically be included in the Bosch settlement. The Bosch settlement is accessible here: https://www.boschvwsettlement.com/

08/30/16: CASE UPDATE

Volkswagen Group of America has submitted proposed settlements to resolve legal claims regarding emissions systems of certain Volkswagen and Audi vehicles that have a 2.0-liter TDI engine. The claims were asserted in a case in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California in San Francisco. The claims are being pursued by (i) the U.S. Department of Justice on behalf of the Environmental Protection Agency, the California Air Resources Board, and the California Attorney General, (ii) the Federal Trade Commission, and (iii) a class comprised of owners and lessees of 2.0-liter TDI vehicles throughout the United States. The Court has granted preliminary approval of the proposed class action settlement for certain 2.0-liter TDI owners and lessees. A final approval hearing is scheduled for October 18, 2016.

For information about the compensation options available to you, please read the Court-approved notice carefully, and visit www.VWCourtSettlement.com.

There you can enter your Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) and determine if your vehicle is included. You can also access an Online Claims Portal and get individualized information about what the settlements mean for you. The Online Claims Portal will provide the fastest processing of your claim.

08/25/16: Volkswagen 3.0-liter Vehicle Update

A Status Conference has been set for Nov. 3, 2016, to further address the 3.0L vehicles. Class counsel is doing everything possible to move the process along swiftly, and the Court encouraged the parties to work expeditiously to get the 3.0L vehicles off the road as soon as possible. Judge Breyer noted that the possibility of a trial as early as the summer of 2017 would “ensure that there is a sense of reality, one, in moving the litigation forward, and two, communicate exactly the sense of urgency that the Court feels must be understood and acted upon by counsel.”

We urge you all to please read the Court’s Transcript from Aug. 25, 2016, which contains information about the status of settlement negotiations over VW/Audi 3.0L engine cars.

07/27/16: Judge Preliminarily Approves $15B Settlement

We are pleased to bring you additional details about the Volkswagen Dieselgate settlement for owners of 2.0-liter Clean Diesel vehicles. Yesterday, Judge Breyer granted preliminary approval of the Class Action Settlement after he reviewed the proposed settlement and made an initial determination that the terms are fair, reasonable and adequate.

Beginning next week, you can see the exact Buyback/Owner Restitution payment and your 2015 clean trade in value by visiting www.VWCourtSettlement.com and entering your Vehicle Identification Number (VIN), mileage, and other required information.

Read more »

06/28/16: VW Settlement

On June 28, 2016, Volkswagen agreed to pay $14.7 billion in response to its use of an emissions-cheating software "defeat device" installed in nearly half a million diesel cars. Please see Hagens Berman's VW Owner FAQ for more details »

   VW Settlement Website »
   Court Website »

06/16/16: Case Update: Court Extends Committee's Deadline to 06/28/16

Judge Breyer has extended the deadline for the Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee to file its motion for preliminary approval of settlement at the request of the Settlement Master from June 21, 2016 to June 28, 2016. We do not anticipate that this will delay the settlement. The date of the next Status Conference and the Hearing on Preliminary Approval remain unchanged. Download the Order

05/25/16: CASE UPDATE:

We’re pleased to bring you an important update in the class-action lawsuit against Volkswagen. We have appreciated your patience in light of the court-mandated gag order regarding the case, and are excited to share these details.

VW is on target to meet the court’s June 21, 2016 deadline, and we are working toward what the court has deemed a “substantial” settlement with Volkswagen for owners of its CleanDiesel vehicles. At yesterday’s hearing Judge Breyer said:

“I am pleased this morning to announce that the Settlement Master and the parties – Volkswagen, the Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee, the Department of Justice on behalf of the Environmental Protection Agency and the California Air Resources Board, in conjunction with the California Attorney General’s Office and the Federal Trade Commission – have reported that in the month since we last met, they have made substantial progress in their intensive daily efforts to finalize the agreements, and, most importantly, are on track to meet the Court’s deadline.”

The public will have an opportunity to comment before the court approves the proposed settlement.

We urge you all to please read the Court’s Transcript from May 24, 2016, which contains new, helpful information about the settlement addressing a buy back, modifications, substantial compensation, environmental remediation and green automotive technology.

Hagens Berman’s VW legal team is here to answer questions you may have about the transcript. Again, thank you for your cooperation.

We will be updating this information on June 21, 2016 when the settlement papers are filed with the court.

04/21/16: CASE UPDATE:

Tentative agreement reached with VW for 2.0-liter diesel vehicles.

Read the Update »
Hearing Transcript »

02/22/16: Consolidated Complaint Filed

On Feb. 22, 2016, the Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee, which includes Hagens Berman, filed a consolidated complaint on behalf of owners and lessors of Volkswagen, Audi and Porsche affected vehicles. This amended complaint is the first following the VW case consolidation and transfer to Judge Breyer in San Francisco, and moves vehicle owners one step closer to a resolution from Volkswagen. Read the consolidated complaint here »

01/15/16: CASE UPDATE:

Hagens Berman has applied for a leadership position in the consolidated VW emissions litigation. The Honorable Judge Charles R. Breyer of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California will appoint lead counsel for the case in January, after which the case will begin moving forward with a focus on a quick resolution for consumers.

For more updates on the case, including emissions tests, the DOJ's lawsuit and more, watch the latest video update from Steve Berman. more »

12/08/15: CASE UPDATE:
Consolidated VW Cases Moved to Northern District of California

Today, the Multi-District Litigation Panel consolidated the now over 450 cases nationwide against VW and assigned the cases to Judge Breyer in the Northern District of California (San Francisco).

Hagens Berman is very pleased with this assignment. Our first case, which was the first case in the United States, was filed in this same court. Hagens Berman has appeared and successfully litigated many cases in this Court, including before Judge Breyer, whom we know to be a highly capable, experienced, and fair judge. We have no doubt that Judge Breyer will oversee an expeditious and fair resolution of the Volkswagen Emissions litigation.

11/07/15: UPDATE

On Nov. 3, 2015, the EPA issued Volkswagen a second Notice of Violation (NOV) accusing VW of using defeat devices in several of its larger diesel-powered automobiles utilizing a 3.0 liter engine. The NOV indicated that EPA testing revealed that these vehicles on-road testing showed emissions levels at up to nine times the permitted amounts.

The vehicles listed in the NOV are: 2014 VW Touareg, 2015 Porsche Cayenne, or 2016 Audi A6 Quattro, A7 Quattro, A8, or Q5. If you own or lease a VW, Porsche, or Audi vehicle that has a 3.0 liter diesel engine, submit your information or engage HB, and we will keep you posted on all important events in the ongoing litigation.