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Lawsuit Filed Against Mercedes-Benz For Dirty Diesels

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On: Mon, Feb 22, 2016 at 6:18PM | By: Carl Malek

Lawsuit Filed Against Mercedes-Benz For Dirty Diesels

In the wake of the ongoing scandal involving Volkswagen and its emissions cheating software, various environmental agencies have increased their scrutiny on other automakers across the board. It appears that another automaker is now in the legal crosshairs; Mercedes-Benz is the defendant in a lawsuit that alleges its BlueTEC diesels are cheating emissions tests too.

The lawsuit, which was filed in the U.S. District Court in New Jersey, claims that Mercedes engineers installed a device that can turn off a system used to reduce nitrogen oxide emissions when the engine is operated in cooler temperatures.Formal details of the lawsuit were not revealed which was brought about by an Illinois Mercedes owner and was filed by Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro LLP, a firm that is also involved in legal action with Volkswagen.

Mercedes Benz, for its part, issued a defiant statement about the lawsuit and signaled its intent to fight it head on. Daimler AG spokesman Jorge Howe went a step further claiming that the lawsuit has no legal merits, calling the allegations "baseless" while reaffirming that "All our vehicles comply with regulatory frameworks. All our vehicles are certified according to the laws." These bold statements could serve as a precursor to a long legal battle and perhaps signal that other automakers will channel the same aggressive legal strategy if faced with similar lawsuits.

In this case, however, Mercedes could have some explaining to do. According to Hagens Berman, a recent article in the German publicationDer Spiegelincludes a Mercedes admission of the existence of the device in question, and that the reason for it is to protect the engine during certain operating conditions. A separate study by the independent testing agency TNO—at the behest of the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and the Envirionment—discovered that the Mercedes C220 diesel used in their tests contained more nitrogen oxide in its exhaust when operated in real world driving conditions than it did when it was hooked up to measuring equipment in their laboratory.

A key part of the suit claims that the cold shut-off system was not disclosed to buyers, and was installed so performance and horsepower would not suffer. The suit, which proposes a class action to have Mecerdes recall or replace, for free, all affected vehicles.


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