PRINCETON – A Princeton woman joined hundreds of car owners across the country when she filed a lawsuit last week against Volkswagen and a local Volkswagen dealership for lying about clean car emissions.
In a lawsuit filed Oct. 19 in Mercer County Superior Court, Princeton resident Elizabeth Zuckerman, an attorney representing herself, claimed she bought a car from a Princeton Volkswagen dealership in 2012 that was advertised by the seller as “environmentally friendly and ‘a clean diesel,'” according to the lawsuit
But that turned out to be false, she said. In September of 2015, after a year-long investigation, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released a notice of violation, claiming Volkswagen had violated the Clean Air Act with thousands of cars, including Zuckerman’s.
Volkswagen was installing special “defeat devices” in their cars from 2009 through 2015, according to the notice. The devices made it possible for many cars passed initial tests to meet nitrogen oxide emission standards.
However, when those same cars were used on the road, they would emit much more nitrogen oxide – effectively cheating the initial tests, the notice stated.
The news made headlines across the world as Volkswagen recalled around nine million cars, The New York Times reported.
But promises of repair weren’t enough for many drivers. Zuckerman is one of over 350 people across the country suing Volkswagen for the deceit, the New York Times reported.
“For me it’s just very aggravating,” Zuckerman said, adding that she thought she was buying a “green car.”
Now, she said, she can’t sell the car and is still forced to drive it around.
“It almost feels like I’m wearing this scarlet letter,” Zuckerman said.
Zuckerman, who is suing not only the company as a whole but also Princeton Volkswagen and Princeton Automobile Company, claimed in the lawsuit that she would not have bought the car if she’d known how much nitrogen oxide the car would put off.
With so many similar lawsuits filed so quickly, a panel of judges is discussing lumping all of the cases together to be handled by a small group of attorneys, according to the New York Times.
Zuckerman said she hopes that her case can be heard on its own rather than sit with hundreds of others.
She said Wednesday that she hasn’t heard any updates on the status of her lawsuit.