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Daimler agree in principle to settle US emissions law suits

Germany’s Daimler AG, parent of Mercedes-Benz, and their US subsidiary agreed yesterday, Thursday 13 August, to in principle, settle US regulatory and civil class action law suits, in respect of the diesel emissions scandal.

14 August 2020

As part of the US settlement Daimler is setting aside $1.5 billion dollars for the settlement with the US authorities, and $700 million for the US class action lawsuit. (The settlements are subject to the final approval of the relevant authorities and courts.)
 
Daimler said it was entering into settlement agreements: “after weighing all aspects [for what’s] in the best interest of the company,” adding “with the proposed settlements, the company takes an important step towards legal certainty with respect to various diesel proceedings in the United States.”
 
In the US approximately 250,000 diesel cars and vans that had emissions cheating software were sold.
 
In England and Wales over 100,000 Mercedes vehicles have now been recalled as a result of the June 2018 German Transport Authority’s (KBA) mandatory recall of certain Daimler vehicles manufactured between August 2011 and September 2018 which the KBA concluded were fitted with prohibited defeat device software. Over 200,000 car owners in England and Wales are affected by the mandatory recall.
 
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Mercedes undertook a voluntary service recall in 2017 to address issues with the emissions software which affected over a million car owners.
 
Leigh Day, Joint Lead Solicitors in the Volkswagen Emission Litigation have now been approached by over 25,000 Mercedes owners who like the claimants in the VW litigation are angry that they have been duped by the car manufacturer who marketed these vehicles as having the cleanest and best emissions technology.
 
The Court of  England and Wales in the Volkswagen litigation, after a lengthy preliminary issues trial, concluded that it was bound by the KBA decisions and findings that Volkswagen cars with EA189 engines contained prohibited emissions test cheating software and even if it had concluded otherwise, the court found that that emissions software in these Volkswagen cars constituted a defeat device. The Court of Appeal denied VW permission to appeal that decision.
 
Daimler  argue that its emissions technology complied with the rules and that its case was different from Volkswagen.
 
Bozena Michalowska, head of the consumer law team at Leigh Day said:
 
“Volkswagen litigation has already established  “legal certainty” in England and Wales  with respect to the binding nature of the KBA decisions.
 
“We hope that Daimler will not repeat the mistakes of its rivals again and will weigh up the best interest of its customers and shareholders and enter into early settlement negotiations here.“
 
It is estimated that VW have had to pay $33.6 billion in costs related to the cheating scandal.

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