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.

# # #

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
[email protected]

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.