Volkswagen Fails Attempt to Escape Liability for Civil Penalties for False Advertising of Emissions

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On February 6, 2017, Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Randall H. Warner issued an order denying Volkswagen’s motion to dismiss the State of Arizona’s claim for civil penalties arising from Volkswagen’s, Audi’s, and Porsche’s false advertising regarding the emissions of their diesel vehicles.

This decision comes after McCune Wright Arevalo, LLP, along with Larson O’Brien, LLC, filed a complaint on behalf of the Attorney General of the State of Arizona alleging that Volkswagen, Audi, and Porsche engaged in a massive false advertising campaign in which they claimed their diesel vehicles were clean, green, and environmentally friendly. In reality, the emissions scandal has revealed that these vehicles were not clean, green, or environmentally friendly – a fact Volkswagen concealed by use of a testing “defeat device.” According to the Environmental Protection Agency, a “defeat device” is software that recognizes when the vehicle is being tested, and implements the full pollution control systems only under those circumstances. Away from test sites, under normal driving conditions, the vehicles spew up to 40 times the permitted amount of nitrogen oxide.

Under Arizona’s Consumer Fraud Act, Volkswagen, Audi, and Porsche can be liable for up to $10,000 for each false advertisement.

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