Volkswagen Violates Clean Air Act

Keller Rohrback L.L.P. has filed a nationwide class action complaint against Volkswagen Group of America, Inc., alleging that the auto maker deliberately deceived well-meaning, environmentally-conscious consumers and regulators when it installed defeat devices in 482,000 Volkswagen and Audi vehicles.

As a result of that deception, the complaint says, consumers nationwide paid a premium for vehicles that did not perform as promised while releasing as much as 40 times the amount of pollution as advertised during normal driving conditions.

Last week, the EPA issued a Notice of Violation stating that Volkswagen violated the Clean Air Act by including so-called defeat devices in certain diesel passenger cars.

Following that announcement, Keller Rohrback, a leading national firm for consumer class actions, filed the complaint in federal court in the Central District of California Sunday on behalf of seven named plaintiffs from three states: California, Washington, and Connecticut.

The lawsuit claims violations of multiple state and federal consumer and environmental laws, and asks for damages, restitution, and injunctive relief, among other things, for consumers nationwide.

Longtime consumer advocate Lynn Lincoln Sarko, Managing Partner of Keller Rohrback L.L.P. and attorney for the plaintiffs, echoed the sentiments of consumers nationwide: “Volkswagen’s decision to prey on environmentally-conscious consumers who paid a premium of thousands of dollars for a supposedly cleaner-running car, and who received a polluting vehicle instead, is despicable. Consumers nationwide are justifiably outraged, and Volkswagen will have to answer to them.”

The complaint describes in detail how Volkswagen intentionally installed “defeat devices” in some vehicles to cheat emission tests.

“The defeat devices [Volkswagen] designed and installed work by switching on the full emissions control systems in [the] cars only when the car is undergoing periodic emissions testing. The technology needed to control emissions from Defendant’s cars to meet state and federal emissions regulations reduce their performance, limiting acceleration, torque, and fuel efficiency,” the complaint says.

“To hide this,” the Complaint says, “the defeat device simply shut off most of the emissions control systems in the cars once the car has completed its emissions test.” This resulted “in Defendant’s cars sending up to 40 times as much pollution into the environment as is allowed under the Clean Air Act and state regulations.”

The plaintiffs in the complaint are representative of thousands of similarly situated consumers nationwide. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Volkswagen installed its “defeat device” in the listed affected models:

• Jetta (Model Years 2009 – 2015)
• Jetta Sportwagen (Model Years 2009 – 2014)
• Beetle (Model Years 2012 – 2015)
• Beetle Convertible (Model Years 2012 – 2015)
• Audi A3 (Model Years 2010 – 2015)
• Golf (Model Years 2010 – 2015)
• Golf Sportwagen (Model Year 2015)
• Passat (Model Years 2012 – 2015)

If you or a family member owns or leases any of the affected vehicles described above that vehicle is subject to a recall, or if you are concerned that your vehicle is part of the recall, please call attorneys Gretchen Freeman Cappio, Matthew Preusch, or Daniel Mensher at 866.560.4043 or via email at to discuss our investigation and your potential claims against Volkswagen. Additional information is available at www.krcomplexlit.com.

Check out the Keller Rohrback Volkswagen Diesel Resource Center

Keller Rohrback L.L.P., with offices in Seattle, Phoenix, New York, and Santa Barbara, serves as lead and co-lead counsel in class actions throughout the country. Our Complex Litigation Group is proud to offer its expertise to clients nationwide, and our trial lawyers have obtained judgments and settlements on behalf of clients in excess of seven billion dollars.

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