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Volkswagen faces Justice Department lawsuit over emissions cheating in Dieselgate scandal

The U.S. Department of Justice has filed a lawsuit against Volkswagen over the company’s actions in connection with last year’s diesel emissions cheating scandal. Volkswagen is facing four counts of violating the Clean Air Act, and could face billions of dollars in penalties and fines for lying to federal regulators and consumers about the emissions levels of its VW, Audi, and Porsche diesel models.

According to the lawsuit filed by the Justice Department, Volkswagen installed a “defeat device” on nearly 600,000 diesel vehicles sold in the U.S. These devices used computer program designed to trick emissions testing software into thinking the VW diesel models emitted lower levels of pollution than they actually did. Investigations by the EPA revealed that VW and Audi “TDI Clean Diesel” models emitted up to 40 times the maximum level of the greenhouse gas nitrogen oxide than allowed by the Clean Air Act.

In September 2015, Volkswagen admitted that it had cheated federal emissions standards through the use of these “defeat devices” on certain VW and Audi models. The company announced that it would recall 11 million vehicles worldwide—including hundreds of thousands of cars in the U.S. The recalled models included the 2010-2015 Audi A3 TDI, the 2012-2015 Volkswagen Beetle TDI, the 2012-2015 Volkswagen Beetle Convertible TDI, the 2010-2015 Volkswagen Golf TDI, the 2009-2015 Volkswagen Jetta TDI, the 2009-2014 Volkswagen Jetta Sportswagen TDI, and the 2012-2015 Volkswagen Passat TDI.

Volkswagen could face billions in legal liability

The lawsuit filed against VW by the Justice Department seeks damages for the company’s deliberate efforts to mislead federal regulators about the emissions levels of its diesel-powered models. Volkswagen could face up to $48 billion in fines and penalties in connection with the lawsuit, although the final amount will be determined by the judge overseeing the case.

In addition to the Justice Department lawsuit, Volkswagen is facing numerous additional product liability and class action lawsuits from consumers who were mislead about the performance and drivability of their VW, Audi, or Porsche diesel models. Since the Volkswagen diesel recall was announced by the German automaker, many drivers who purchased or leased one of the recalled models have seen the value of their cars plummet. Uncertainty over the Volkswagen recall has made it difficult for these drivers to sell their cars or even take them in for inspection, further increasing their financial uncertainty.

Although it has been months since Volkswagen announced that it would recall the VW, Audi, and Porsche “clean diesel” models involved in the Dieselgate scandal, the company has not been able to work out a plan with the EPA as to how it will fix the emissions problems with the vehicles involved in the recall. Whatever solution Volkswagen eventually announces, it will likely mean drastic reductions to the performance and drivability of the vehicles, further eroding the value of these vehicles for drivers.

Legal experts predict that the German automaker could face billions in legal liability and EPA fines as a result of its fraudulent claims regarding the performance and emissions of the recalled TDI vehicles. Consumers who purchased or leased one of the Volkswagen or Audi “clean diesel” vehicles involved in the emissions scandal may be eligible to file a lawsuit and receive compensation for their vehicle.

Lawsuits Filed Against Volkswagen by VW, Audi, Porsche Diesel Owners

Drivers who purchased or leased a diesel-powered car manufactured by Volkswagen may be eligible to file a consumer fraud lawsuit against the company. The first step in taking legal action is to speak with an experienced attorney who can provide you with legal advice regarding your rights.

The law firm of Heygood, Orr & Pearson has already filed several lawsuits against Volkswagen over the Dieselgate emissions scandal. Our attorneys have tried or settled hundreds of cases involving product liability for our clients in recent years.

The attorneys at our firm have represented numerous plaintiffs in class action lawsuits involving consumer fraud. We have filed class action cases on behalf of investors who claim they were deceived about the value of life settlements investments.  At Heygood, Orr & Pearson, we have the financial resources to handle even the most complex cases from beginning to end. There are many instances when we have invested hundreds of thousands of dollars in a case in order to take it to trial. We are committed to achieving justice for our clients, whatever the cost.

If you purchased an Audi, Porsche, or Volkswagen diesel-powered vehicle involved in the Dieselgate emissions cheating scandal, contact the lawyers at Heygood, Orr & Pearson to learn more about your legal rights. For a free legal consultation to learn more about whether you may qualify to file a lawsuit, please call us toll-free at 1-877-446-9001. You can also contact our office by following the link to our free case evaluation form and answering a few simple questions about your situation to get started.

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