Volkswagen’s recent stunning admission that the German automaker rigged diesel cars with software to trick U.S. regulators into believing the vehicles complied with emissions regulations has unleashed a wave of litigation that has now spread to Baton Rouge.
An Orleans Parish resident who bought a 2012 Volkswagen Passat Diesel in 2013 for more than $27,000 filed a lawsuit Monday in the 19th Judicial District Court against Volkswagen Group of America Inc., whose principal place of business in Louisiana is located in Baton Rouge.
Neil Jonathan Maki, represented by the Metairie law firm of Chehardy, Sherman, Ellis, Murray, Recile, Griffith, Stakelum & Hayes LLP, says in his suit that he became interested in buying the diesel Passat because of the vehicle’s high mileage and “clean” engine, both factors that were important to him.
“Plaintiff would not have purchased his 2012 Volkswagen Passat Diesel if he had known that the emissions were much higher than advertised,” the suit states.
Volkswagen has promised to propose a fix this month to the diesel cars with the manipulative software.
The company said it will soon start notifying owners of the up to 11 million vehicles worldwide potentially affected by the software, which causes the cars to emit harmful pollutants at rates of up to 40 times U.S. standards. Some 482,000 of those vehicles are in the United States.
Maki is seeking damages that include a return of the purchase price of his vehicle, or a reduction in that price to cover the estimated cost of repairs, and attorneys’ fees.
Maki wants his suit certified as a class action on behalf of all affected Volkswagen owners in the state.
The suit claims the Volkswagen diesel vehicles sold in this country with the so-called defeat device include the Jetta, Beetle, Golf and Passat, all for the model years 2009-2015.
State District Judge Wilson Fields has been assigned the suit.