Though Volkswagen has managed to steal the spotlight for the past several months after news of its emissions-cheating software was revealed, it may have to share the stage as a recent class action suit levels similar charges against another automaker. Now it’s Daimler, maker of Mercedes-Benz, that will need to address allegations that it too created software to cheat emissions test and allow its vehicles to pollute at unacceptably high rates.
A class action lawsuit was filed against Daimler this past week arguing that Daimler’s U.S. Mercedes-Benz unit produced engines that contain devices aimed at bypassing emissions regulations. Specifically, the software is installed in diesel engines, the same as those at issue in the Volkswagen emissions-cheating scandal.
The lawsuit here began with a car owner from Illinois who believes that his Mercedes uses a device that allows it to emit more pollutants than is legally allowed. The cheat is alleged to work only in certain cases, for example, by allowing pollutants to be emitted at higher levels when the temperature outside is colder.
The lawsuit bases its claims on two things: one is an article by a major German publication, Der Spiegel, which mentioned similar allegations of emissions cheating. The other was a study conducted by an independent research organization, which allegedly identified the offending software. The class action demands that the court either order a recall to repair the offending devices or offer free replacement cars, a seriously expensive proposition.
As you might expect, Daimler is not admitting to any such scheme. A spokesperson has said that their vehicles comply with all applicable regulations and are certified to pass emissions inspection. The company also attacked the results of the independent study, saying that all vehicles contain some variations depending on driving conditions and these variations were not the result of purposeful manipulation.
Whether the Mercedes class action lawsuit gains the traction that the VW emissions-cheating scandal has remains to be seen. Given the serious allegations, you can be sure that other groups, including regulators, will direct additional scrutiny at Mercedes, as well as other automakers, an attempt to avoid a problem of VW’s magnitude from happening again.
If you have a vehicle that is subject to a recall, please call Kilpatrick & Philley for a free consultation. We have experience in pursuing claims such as that subject recall as we have been active in the BP litigation as well as other Mass Tort claims. Please let our friendly staff of attorneys help with your claim.