Clifford Law Offices, a leading mass tort/class action firm in Chicago, today (Monday, Sept. 21, 2015) filed a class action complaint in federal district court on behalf of two people who own Volkswagens that are affected by the recent "clean diesel' scandal that has rocked the automaker.
The complaint, filed on behalf of Micah Dorn and Peter Haralovich, individually and as representatives of the class, alleges that since at least 2008 Volkswagen represented and sold certain models as "clean diesel engine", but "they were not clean."
The CEO of the German car maker has publicly apologized for misleading the public in selling cars that were able to outsmart official emissions test and register lower numbers during testing but when, in fact, the cars were driven on the road, they could emit the pollutant nitrous oxide as much as 40 times over the legal limit. That pollutant is a reactive gas that combines with volatile organic compounds in the atmosphere to produce ozone and its emission is regulated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The EPA uncovered the scheme to the public days ago and is now reportedly conducting a full investigation. Fuel mileage increases also were impacted by these emission control devices, according to the complaint.
Dorn of Cook County, Illinois, and Haralovich of Monroe County, Indiana, contacted Clifford Law Offices to file a lawsuit on their behalf as well as all others similarly situated, which is said to be as many as a half million cars owned and leased in the U.S. Dorn purchased a new 2013 Jetta and Haralovich purchased a new 2010 Jetta, both relying on the "clean diesel engine" aspect of the cars that were touted as "green" cars and environmentally friendly vehicles. They both still own the vehicles but said they would not have purchased the cars or would have paid much less had Volkswagen not advertised that feature prior to the sale.
The 20-page complaint filed in the Northern District of Illinois in Chicago specifically alleges violations of the Clean Air Act and EPA regulations. It goes on to state that Volkswagen "intentionally designed the 'defeat device' into the software" and that it was not revealed nor was it discoverable by any buyer or user of the car. The complaint also alleges fraudulent concealment by VW, violations of the Illinois Consumer Fraud statute and violations of the Indiana Deceptive Sales Act.
"When the software in the Affected Vehicles' electronic Control Module ('ECM') detects environmental and vehicle parameters that resemble an emissions test, the ECM activates the pollution control devices installed on the car to enable an emissions test to be passed," the complaint alleges. When the emissions tests are not triggered, the emission control devices on the cars are partially turned off and bypassed, the complaint goes on to say.
Specifically, the complaint mentions that this software has been installed on models between 2009 to the present on the Jetta, the Jetta Sportwagen, the Golf, the Golf Sportwagen, the Audi A3, the Beetle, the Beetle Convertible and the Passat. The EPA has recalled all of these vehicles for the years in question.
"Once again, we are privileged to represent consumer interests against corporate wrongdoing," said Robert A. Clifford, founder and senior partner at the firm. "Our firm has developed a reputation for complex litigation, and consumer class action matters in particular. We have always been an advocate for consumers."
Clifford recently was selected as co-lead counsel in the defective Pella windows class action matter in federal district court in Chicago. He also has a number of other class action cases including representing dozens of people involved in the General Motors faulty ignition issue. He was named this month as the 2015 top Mass Tort/Class Action lawyer in the Chicago metropolitan area by Best Lawyers, one of the top peer-review legal groups in the country.
The complaint alleges that the amount of harm to some half million potential plaintiffs exceeds $5 million.
For further information, please contact Clifford Law Offices Communications Partner Pamela Sakowicz Menaker at 847-721-0909. www.CliffordLaw.com