Volkswagen Class Action Lawsuit Alleges Brake Safety Systems Don’t Work

Volkswagen has been hit with a class action lawsuit for allegedly misrepresenting the brake safety systems in nearly 100,000 of its 2016 and 2017 models, including the Jetta, Passat, and several Golf vehicles.

Plaintiff Michael D’Amore brought the class action complaint against Volkswagen in state court back in April, but the case was recently transferred to federal court. D’Amore is challenging Volkswagen’s alleged deceptive representations and omission regarding the brake safety systems of its 2016 and 2017 vehicles sold in California.

According to the Volkswagen Brake Safety System class action lawsuit, D’Amore purchased a 2017 Passat specifically because it contained safety features that provided for autonomous braking at speeds over 25 miles per hour. In fact, upon purchasing his 2017 Passat, D’ Amore was given and read the owner’s manual for his new vehicle which contained a representation that the 2017 Passat has high-speed autonomous braking system as a standard feature. But, while driving his 2017 Passat in excess of 25 mph, D’Amore contends he did not experience any warning – visual or auditory – nor did his vehicle engage in any autonomous braking.

Volkswagen has represented itself as one of the safest automobile brands manufacturing and selling vehicles in America. “It brakes when you don’t,” was a pledge made in commercials to American consumers when Volkswagen tried to sell its 2016 models. Volkswagen represented that its 2016 and 2017 models contained two technology systems: Forward Collision Warning and Autonomous Emergency Braking (the “Systems”) and campaigned to capitalize on safety concerns of consumers, including those with children, the lawsuit indicates.

“Despite these representations, at no point in 2016 or 2017 did these brake safety systems properly work at speeds over 18 miles per hour. Not only did Volkswagen’s misrepresentation of the brake safety systems diminish the value of its 2016 and 2017 vehicles, Volkswagen endangered the owners and drivers who relied on the safety technology promised, warranted and sold in its 2016 and 2017 vehicles.”

D’Amore claims he, and other consumers, were duped by Volkswagen, contending that the vehicles never had such safety technology and that Volkswagen knew it. Volkswagen’s alleged knowledge of this defect, is based, in part, on the results of published unbiased testing conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Based on IIHS testing, not one of the tested Volkswagen cars had any high-speed auto-brake technology that would reduce speed in a meaningful way, when the vehicle was traveling over 25 miles per hour. For instance, as reported by the IIHS, the 2016 and 2017 Passat speed was reduced by 0 miles per hour when the Passat was traveling at 25 miles per hour.

The Volkswagen Brake Safety class action lawsuit goes on to state that he, and other Volkswagen car owners, would not have purchased the vehicles, or would have paid substantially less had they known the safety systems did not properly operate. D’Amore seeks to represent a Class of all current and former owners of the following Volkswagen vehicles who reside in the State of California and/or who purchased or leased the vehicles listed below in California:

  • 2016 Golf, GolfGTI, GolfR, e-Golf, GolfSportWagen
  • 2016 CC
  • 2016 Jetta
  • 2016 Passat
  • 2017 Golf, GolfGTI, GolfR, e-Golf, Golf Alltrack, GolfSportWagen
  • 2017 CC
  • 2017 Jetta
  • 2017 Passat

D’Amore is represented by Ari E. Moss of Moss Bollinger LLP and Mary Niefert and Anoiel Khorshid of Niefert Korshid APLC.

The Volkswagen Brake Safety System Class Action Lawsuit is D’Amore et al. v. Volkswagen Group of America, Inc., Case No. 18-cv-5682, in U.S. District Court for the Central District of California.

Ford Becomes Latest Focus of Diesel Emissions Cheating Class Action Lawsuit

A new proposed class action lawsuit has Ford Motor Company joining the ranks of Volkswagen and Fiat Chrysler in being accused of using defeat devices in its diesel vehicles to cheat emissions testing.

Six named plaintiffs from across the country have joined together in filing the Ford diesel emissions cheating class action lawsuit, alleging that Ford falsely claims its popular Ford-250 and F-350 “Super Duty” diesel models are the “Cleanest Super Diesels Ever”, when it actuality they employ “defeat devices” to cheat emissions testing.

In the last two years, there have been major scandals involving diesel vehicles made by Volkswagen, Mercedes, Fiat Chrysler, and General Motors. Volkswagen plead guilty to criminal violations of the Clean Air Act, Mercedes is under investigation by the Department of Justice, and Fiat Chrysler has been sued by the EPA for violating the Clean Air Act for improper emissions in tens of thousands of its diesel vehicles. Additionally, General Motors is the subject of a lawsuit concerning the emissions of its Silverado and Sierra trucks.

Unfortunately, the plaintiffs in the Ford diesel emissions cheating class action lawsuit are saying that Ford is no different when it comes to the following models: model Year 2011-2017 F-250 and F-350 Super Duty diesel trucks. The 273-page complaint, filed on January 10, 2018 in Michigan federal court, notes that Ford’s vehicles spew high levels of nitrogen oxide and other pollutants many times higher than their gasoline counterparts – more than what a reasonable consumer would expect.

“Ford’s top selling Super Duty vehicles often emit far more pollution on the road than in the emissions-certification testing environment,” the Ford diesel emissions class action lawsuit states.

Specifically, the plaintiffs claim that Ford diesel vehicles exceed federal and state emissions standards and have emissions cheating software that turn down the emissions control when each vehicle senses that it is not in the certification test cycle.

In addition, the Ford diesel emissions cheating class action lawsuit asserts that Ford markets the vehicles as “fuel efficient” and “best-in-class” in fuel economy. However, according to the suit, failed to disclose to consumers that without manipulating its emissions cheating technology to turn down the emissions controls, Ford could not achieve the fuel economy and range it promises consumers.

“Increased sales, and thus increased profits, drove Ford to use at least a defeat device in its Super Duty diesel engines…this made Ford’s trucks more appealing and competitive in the marketplace, driving up sales and profits.”

The six named plaintiffs all say they suffered out-of-pocket losses as a result of Ford’s alleged reckless disregard in designing, marketing, and selling these vehicles without proper diesel emissions controls. The plaintiffs all believed they were purchasing or leasing “clean diesel” or “low emission diesel” vehicles based on Ford’s marketing and representation. None thought they were getting vehicles that actually reportedly emit unlawful or unexpectedly high levels of pollutants.

The plaintiffs seek to represent a Class of “all persons who purchased or leased a model year 2011-2017 Ford F-250 or F-350 Super Duty” as well as a nationwide RICO class.

The plaintiffs and the proposed class are represented by Steve Berman of Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro LLP; E. Powell Miller and Sharon S. Almonrode of The Miller Law Firm PC; James E. Cecchi of Carella Byrne Cecchi Olstein Brody & Agnello PC; and Christopher A. Seeger of Seeger Weiss LLP.

The Ford Diesel Emissions Cheating Class Action Lawsuit is Len Gamboa, et al. v. Ford Motor Company, et al., Case No. 2:18-cv-10106-DPH-EAS, in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan.