Starn O’Toole Marcus & Fisher, a Honolulu law firm, has filed a class action complaint against Volkswagen for fraudulent conduct and deceptive acts and practices on behalf of consumers in Hawaii.
The complaint, filed on September 28, 2015, in U.S. District Court for the District of Hawaii, alleges that Volkswagen used software on certain diesel vehicles manufactured by the automaker so the vehicles appear to comply with U.S. laws related to vehicle emissions standards, when they do not. The lawsuit seeks damages on behalf of affected Hawaii consumers.
“Volkswagen marketed these 'clean diesel' vehicles as high performing, fuel efficient, and environmentally-friendly and consumers bought them for that combination of features,” said attorney Sharon Lovejoy, a Director of Starn O’Toole Marcus & Fisher. “Hawaii consumers paid a premium for these vehicles based on the belief that they were ‘clean’ and better for the environment. Volkswagen has now admitted to using deceptive software to make it appear as though these vehicles passed EPA testing when, in fact, in day-to-day use they did not. We intend to make sure that Volkswagen owners in Hawaii affected by this deception receive the compensation they deserve,” Lovejoy said.
The complaint claims that Volkswagen did not disclose that certain so-called “clean diesel” vehicles actually violated Federal emission standards, and instead marketed and sold the vehicles as meeting emissions standards. According to the EPA, Volkswagen installed a deceptive software device known as a ‘defeat device’ that allowed the automaker to cheat the EPA emissions testing, but during normal operations, the vehicles emit up to 40 times the legal limit of toxic emissions,
including Nitrogen oxide. Nitrogen oxide is a pollutant that can cause a variety of health problems including chest pain, coughing, throat irritation and congestion.
The lawsuit is brought on behalf of all Hawaii owners or lessees of the following 2.0-liter diesel automobiles:
- VW Jetta (model years 2009-15)
- VW Beetle (model years 2009-15)
- VW Golf (model years 2009-15)
- VW Passat (model years 2014-15)
- Audi A3 (model years 2009-15)
The lawsuits seek statutory penalties and compensatory and punitive damages for the class members -- all consumers in Hawaii who purchased or leased the affected VW and Audi diesel cars.
Jetta, Beetle, Audi A3, Golf, and Passat are registered trademarks of Volkswagen Group of America, Inc. and/or Volkswagen Aktiengesellschaft. The use of these trademarks is solely for company and product identification and informational purposes. Volkswagen Group is not in any way affiliated with Starn O’Toole Marcus & Fisher. Nothing in this press release has been authorized or approved by Volkswagen Group.