LOS ANGELES (Oct. 21, 2015) — Susman Godfrey, one of the nation’s top law firms, has expanded its nationwide class-action lawsuit against Volkswagen Group of America to include plaintiffs in 18 states, including Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Illinois, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Texas, Utah and Virginia.
Originally filed Sept. 24 in California, the suit claims Volkswagen secretly used software designed to cheat emissions tests and falsely advertised its vehicles as environmentally friendly. Due to those actions, consumers were deceived into purchasing what they believed were eco-conscious “CleanDiesel” vehicles that actually emit up to 40 times the legal limit of nitrogen oxide.
“We are pleased to expand this lawsuit, as we know hundreds of thousands of people across the country have been affected by Volkswagen’s deceptive actions,” said Steven Sklaver, a Susman Godfrey attorney on the Volkswagen case. “We look forward to helping compensate these consumers for their losses.”
Buyers of the 2009 to 2015 Jetta and Jetta SportWagen models, 2010 to 2015 Audi A3 and Golf models, 2012 to 2015 Beetle, Beetle Convertible and Passat models, and the 2015 Golf SportWagen model are alleged to have paid a significant premium for so-called “CleanDiesel” vehicles. It now appears these consumers actually received vehicles that cannot even pass state and federal emissions standards.
With a long track record of achieving substantial verdicts and settlements for its clients in numerous high-profile cases, Susman Godfrey has been recognized repeatedly for its prowess in plaintiffs’ litigation. Recently, Law360, published by Portfolio Media, honored the firm on its “Most Feared Plaintiffs Firms” list for the third year in a row. The National Law Journal, published by American Lawyer Media, named the firm to its 2014 “Plaintiffs Hot List.”
The firm’s recent results include an historic $1.6 billion settlement in the Toyota unintended acceleration class action, where Marc Seltzer served as co-lead counsel for the class. The Toyota class received net benefits valued at approximately $1.4 billion.
The lawsuit filed by Susman Godfrey against Volkswagen alleges United States Environmental Protection Agency and California Air Resources Board investigations found Volkswagen secretly installed emission “defeat devices” in over 482,000 vehicles in the United States alone. Volkswagen has now admitted to installing similar devices in 11 million vehicles worldwide. The devices allow Volkswagen vehicles to defeat emissions tests by engaging emissions controls only when testing is detected by the vehicles in question. When the vehicles are not undergoing emissions testing, those emission controls are disengaged, allowing the vehicles to emit pollutants in quantities up to 10 to 40 times the legal limit.
According to the lawsuit, Volkswagen concedes that it installed the defeat devices in its “CleanDiesel” vehicles, and the head of Volkswagen’s United States Division gave the following confession: “Let’s be clear about this. Our company was dishonest. With the EPA, and the California Air Resources Board, and with all of you. And in my German words, we have totally screwed up.”