Hawaii firm files class action lawsuit against Volkswagen

Local News

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 by Starn O’Toole Marcus & Fisher on Sept. 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.”

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, “These cars contain software that turns off emissions controls when driving normally, and turns them on when the car is undergoing an emission test. Known as a ‘defeat device,’ this design feature results in the cars emitting up to 40 times the amount of NOx emissions that the standards allow. NOx standards are in place to ensure public health is protected.”

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 lawsuit seeks statutory penalties and compensatory and punitive damages for the class members, which are all consumers in Hawaii who purchased or leased the affected VW and Audi diesel cars.

Volkswagen says it doesn’t comment on pending or active litigation.

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