Morgan and Morgan has filed a class action lawsuit against Volkswagen Group of America following the automaker’s admission that it deliberately falsified pollution test results for hundreds of thousands of “clean diesel” vehicles sold in the United States.
The lawsuit, open to United States consumers who purchased certain models of VW-made cars, seeks compensation for customers who were defrauded by Volkswagen.
What Cars are Affected?
The affected VW vehicles are:
- Jetta (2009-2015)
- Jetta SportWagen TDI (2009-2014)
- Golf TDI (2010-2015)
- Golf SportWagen TDI (2015)
- Beetle TDI (2013-2015)
- Beetle Convertible TDI (2013-2015)
- Passat TDI (2012-2015)
- Audi A3 (2010-2015)
In addition, Morgan & Morgan is investigating new claims by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that VW rigged emissions testing for its larger diesel luxury vehicles, including the following vehicles equipped with 3.0 liter diesel engines:
- Volkswagen Touareg (2009-2016)
- Porsche Cayenne (2013-2016)
- Audi A6 Quattro (2014-2016)
- Audi A7 Quattro (2014-2016)
- Audi A8 (2014-2016)
- Audi A8L (2014-2016)
- Audi Q5 (2014-2016)
- Audi Q7 (2009-2016)
Finally, and most recently, Volkswagen has self-disclosed that nearly 1 million of its vehicles—including some with gasoline engines—have carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions irregularities. Some of these cars have 1.4-liter gasoline-powered engines, while others have 1.4-liter, 1.6-liter, and 2-liter TDI diesel engines. Specific affected models include:
- VW Polo
- VW Golf
- VW Passat
- Audi A1
- Audi A3
- Skoda Octavia
- Seat Ibiza
- Seat Leon
Our lawyers are looking into these latest claims and deciding what, if any, legal actions are warranted.
If you or someone you know purchased one of the VW cars listed above, do not hesitate to contact Morgan & Morgan to find out whether you may qualify for compensation related to the VW emissions test scandal. Our class action lawsuit is open to qualified Volkswagen owners in all 50 states. We are also investigation other types of legal actions on behalf of VW owners impacted by the newest emissions cheating revelations.
To discuss your legal options for free with a Morgan & Morgan attorney, send us a message.
What’s the Problem with VW Clean Diesel Cars?
Volkswagen has admitted that it rigged 11 million diesel vehicles worldwide, including around 500,000 cars sold in the U.S., with software that allows the vehicles to pass federal and state clear air emissions standards in a laboratory setting, but to emit pollutants at levels that exceed these standards when the vehicles are being driven on the road.
On the strength of claims that its 2.0L TDI Clean Diesel engine is a “fantastic power train” that provides “very good fuel economy” and “puts out 25% less greenhouse gas emissions than what a gasoline engine would,” Volkswagen has captured a commanding share of the U.S. automotive diesel market. But as multiple media outlets have reported, the VW clean diesel cars are not as environmentally-friendly as advertised because outside of the lab, they produce up to 40 times the legal limit of nitrogen oxides (NOx).
Volkswagen was able to cheat on government emissions tests by engineering software in its diesel vehicles known as “defeat devices” that can detect when they are being tested and correspondingly reduce NOx emissions during the test period. When the cars are not being tested, however, the software is not activated and emissions soar. VW has been engaged in this fraud for more than seven years.
Volkswagen has self-disclosed that nearly 1 million of its vehicles—including some with gasoline engines—have carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions irregularities.
What About the More Recent Claims Against VW?
The original VW emissions cheating scandal that broke in September involved small cars with 2.0L 4-cylinder TDI engines that used cheating software to circumvent EPA emissions standards for NOx. On November 2nd the EPA issued a Notice of Violation to Volkswagen that indicated certain models of vehicles with 3.0L 6-cylinder engines used the same type of software to cheat federal emissions standards. According to the EPA, when the 3.0L 6-cyclinder vehicles are not being emissions tested, they emit NOX at levels up to nine times the EPA standard.
The most recent chapter of the VW emissions cheating scandal involves not NOx emissions, but carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. An internal Volkswagen probe revealed that 800,000 cars had “unexplained inconsistencies” regarding CO2 output. It is believed that there is some overlap between the 11 million vehicles with problem NOx emissions and those with problem CO2 emissions. Volkswagen admits that a change in CO2 emissions also negatively affect fuel economy. A VW spokeswoman, however, said that she does not believe the issue is related to the U.S. market.
Has a Recall Been Announced?
According to a report published in the Wall Street Journal, Volkswagen plans to initiate a recall in 2016 that will run through the end of the year. Under the recall, VW will fix diesel cars with software that allows them to cheat on emissions testing. Volkswagen Chief Executive Matthias Müller stressed that a software update will be sufficient to fix most cars, but also noted that other vehicles would require new fuel injection equipment and catalytic converters.
Regarding vehicles with problem CO2 emissions, VW plans “to clarify the further course of action as quickly as possible and ensure the correct CO2 classification for the vehicles affected.” VW’s board of directors added that “The board of directors and the committee specifically established to investigate will meet soon to discuss further measures and consequences.”
Volkswagen has yet to announce U.S.-specific recall plans. The automaker’s U.S. recall affects small passenger vehicles such as the Jetta, Passat, and Golf, but in Europe VW sells larger vehicles such as commercial vans and SUVs that are also affected.
Do I Have to Comply With the Recall?
In an intriguing twist to the recall scandal, Reuters is reporting that U.S. VW owners may not be forced to comply with the recall, which could negatively impact vehicle performance and gas mileage. Reuters says that state and federal officials can do little to compel owners to get their cars fixed, and that those who like their vehicles the way they are can continue to drive them, despite the fact that they will emit pollutants at levels up to 40 times higher than some states permit.
Volkswagen may decide to offer incentives, such as loyalty programs, trade-ins, or cash incentives, to compel owners to fix their vehicles. Updates on this and other VW recall-related news can be found on the manufacturer’s website. Updates are also available on VW’s Twitter page.
What Should I Do if I Own One of the Affected VW Cars?
If you or someone you know owns one of the VWs with emissions cheat software, you should speak with Morgan & Morgan right away about your legal rights, as you may be eligible to join our class action lawsuit against VW.
VW customers understandably feel deceived and defrauded by Volkswagen. Many paid more for a clean diesel model because of its touted performance and environmental benefits compared to non-diesel models. Not only that, but VW diesels, in light of the emissions cheating revelation, now also have a lower resale value.
It is recommended that for the time being owners hold onto their cars, because the class action lawsuit could result in a cash settlement or dealer buyback program. VW may also announce a compensatory scheme in the coming weeks and months. At this early stage, payment for a vehicle’s loss of value, punitive damages for intentional misconduct, and even money for emotional distress should be considered to be on the table. Specific allegations against VW in Morgan and Morgan’s class action include unjust enrichment, negligent misrepresentation, breach of contract, and warranty violation.
How Do I Join the Volkswagen Class Action?
Joining a Volkswagen class action is simple: call Morgan & Morgan, and we’ll handle the rest.
Many paid more for a clean diesel model because of its touted performance and environmental benefits compared to non-diesel models.
It doesn’t matter what state you live in or where you bought your Volkswagen vehicle. As long as your vehicle is one of those affected by the emissions scandal, Morgan & Morgan will review your case and let you know whether you may qualify for compensation. At this stage, the firm is looking into handling Volkswagen cases as a mass tort, rather than a true class action. This would allow each plaintiff to have their own lawsuit and obtain damages more in line with their individual losses.
Why Should I Trust Morgan & Morgan With My Claim?
Morgan & Morgan has extensive experience with automobile mass litigation, including lawsuits over Takata airbags and GM ignition switches. We have won jury awards and settlements in the past against automakers, and our work in this area makes us uniquely qualified to handle the large and complex Volkswagen class action. Morgan’s lawyers are routinely chosen for leadership positions in complex litigation and play an important role in shaping class action and mass tort outcomes nationwide.
To learn more about the Volkswagen class action lawsuit and how we protect the rights of those harmed by large companies, please contact Morgan & Morgan for a free case review.
*ALBRITTON v. VOLKSWAGEN GROUP OF AMERICA INC. D/B/A VOLKSWAGEN OF AMERICA, INC., AND VOLKSWAGEN AG, case number 3:15-CV-1138-J-32-JRK, in the United States District Court, Middle District of Florida).