Lawsuit seeks Volkswagen buyback of emissions-cheating diesels in California – Los Angeles Times

Posted: Monday, October 12, 2015

California owners of Volkswagen diesel cars caught up in the emissions-test rigging scandal might have a shot at getting the German automaker to buy back the vehicles.

A Seattle law firm filed a class action lawsuit against Volkswagen in Los Angeles federal court Monday demanding an immediate buyback under California emissions laws.

“We are asking for an injunction hearing in November, and if we win, we would want the refund program in place by the end of the year,” said Steve Berman, the Seattle class action attorney who filed the case.

What makes the case viable is Volkswagen’s public concession that it could take at least a year or longer to fix most of the 482,000 diesel vehicles it sold in the U.S. with secret software that tricks pollution tests, Berman said.

Both the Environmental Protection Agency and the California Air Resources Board are demanding that Volkswagen fix the vehicles. The software detects when the cars are undergoing laboratory emissions tests and changes how they operate to meet the requirements.

But when the vehicles are driven on the road they emit up to 40 times the limit for smog-forming nitrogen oxide pollution.

There are about 67,000 of the cars – 2009 to 2015 VW and Audis with 2-liter diesel engines – in California, according to auto information company Kelley Blue Book.

Volkswagen faces a Nov. 20 Air Resources Board deadline to provide remedies to bring the fleet of diesels in California into compliance with pollution regulations.

The lawsuit argues that “under California express warranty law,” Volkswagen must either buy back the vehicles at the purchase price or provide replacement cars unless it can retrofit them “after a reasonable number of attempts.”


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