Shocker: EU Has Covered Up Volkswagen Emissions Cheating Since 2010

VW-Emissions-300x200For the last six years, the European Commission has known that German automaker Volkswagen was cheating on emissions of its diesel vehicles, according to Spiegel Online.

  • The emissions cheating had been under discussion for years both within the Commission and the EU member governments.
  • The German government was notified about a 2012 meeting about the corporate deception.
Read our latest story: 3 State Attorneys General Charge that Volkswagen Scandal is 10-Year Orchestrated Fraud

The scandal first made headlines in 2015 when it became known that Volkswagen had manipulated the emissions of its diesel vehicle, but the cover up was just revealed today.

Litigation against VW is consolidated in In re: Volkswagen “Clean Diesel” Litigation, MDL 2672. On August 25, 2016, attorneys may listen to a status conference by telephone using the CourtCall remote court appearance service. Advance registration for remote attendance is required; this can be done online or by calling CourtCall at (866) 582-6878.

Sample Motions and Forms are available online for subscribers of Mass Tort Nexus.

EU knew about defeat devices

In the middle of the 2000s, European Commission experts noticed an odd phenomenon: Air quality in European cities was improving much more slowly than expected in light of stricter emissions regulations. It charged the Joint Research Centre (JRC) — an organization that carries out studies on behalf of the Commission — with measuring emissions in real-life conditions.

On October 8, 2010 — roughly three years after the JRC air quality tests — an internal memo noted that it was “well known” that there was a discrepancy between diesel vehicle emissions during the approval stage of new vehicle models and real-world driving conditions. The documents also makes the origin of this discrepancy clear: It is the product of “defeat devices” — essentially programs in the engine software — that would shut off anti-pollution controls, according to Spiegel Online.

On June 28, 2016, in settlements with the Department of Justice, the State of California, and the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC), Volkswagen AG agreed to pay up to $14.7 billion to settle allegations of cheating emissions tests and deceiving customers. Volkswagen will offer consumers a buyback and lease termination for nearly 500,000 model year 2009-2015 2.0 liter diesel vehicles sold or leased in the U.S., and spend up to $10.03 billion to compensate consumers under the program. In addition, the company will spend $4.7 billion to mitigate the pollution from these cars and invest in green vehicle technology.


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Drivers Argue that GM MDL Should Continue After 2nd Circuit Bankruptcy Rulings

Jacqueline Gilbert was injured when this Chevy Cobalt hit a tree. Now she is suing General Motors, charging that the car's faulty ignition system malfunctioned, shutting the engine down and causing it to lose its power steering.
Jacqueline Gilbert was injured when this Chevy Cobalt hit a tree. Now she is suing General Motors, charging that the car’s faulty ignition system malfunctioned, shutting the engine down and causing it to lose its power steering.

The drivers in multidistrict litigation who charge that GM’s ignition switch defect cover-up devalued their vehicles, wrote a letter to US District Judge Jesse M. Furman that separate rulings by the Second US Circuit Court of Appeal are sufficient to defeat GM’s bid to kill their third amended complaint, according to Law360.

The Second Circuit ruled on July 13, 2016 that General Motors’ 2009 bankruptcy does not shield it from lawsuits over a deadly ignition-switch defect that led to criminal charges against the automaker and prompted the recall of 2.6 million vehicles in 2014.

The Manhattan Appeals Court held that barring plaintiffs from suing GM over crashes and lost vehicle value stemming from the faulty switch would violate their constitutional rights to due process, because they had not been notified of the defect prior to GM’s bankruptcy.

Faulty ignition switches

The ruling effectively rebuffs GM’s attempts to block hundreds of customer lawsuits over faulty ignition switches, and other vehicles components, on grounds that they were automatically barred by the company’s 2009 bankruptcy sale to a new corporate entity, according to Reuters.

The cases have been consolidated in In re General Motors LLC Ignition Switch Litigation, MDL 2543 before Transferee Judge Jesse M. Furman of the US District Court for the Southern District of New York. A status conference is scheduled for July 28, 2016.

The 699-page Third Amended Consolidated Complaint has 121 plaintiffs from across the US, and alleges:

  • New GM falsely promoted all of its vehicles as safe, reliable, and high-quality.
  • New GM’s advertising and marketing literature falsely claimed that new GM placed safety and quality first.
  • New GM was aware of the Delta Ignition Switch Defect from the date of New GM’s inception.
  • New GM continues to conceal the ignition switch defect.
  • New GM received many complaints of power failures in the Delta Ignition Switch Vehicles.

“New GM was aware of these problems year after year and nationwide, as reflected not only by the internal documents reflecting knowledge and cover-up at high levels, but in the thousands of customer complaints, but also, and not by way of limitation, by New GM’s internal complaint logs and other documents,” the third amended complaint states.

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