Mercedes agrees 1.5 billion dollar settlement in US
Mercedes parent company Daimler AG has agreed a 1.5 billion USD settlement with US authorities over the emissions scandal. The 1.5 billion dollar settlement comprises 875,000,000 USD in civil penalties, some 70,300,000 USD in other penalties, 100,000,000 USD for ‘mitigation projects’ in California and 436,000,000 USD to pay for the recall programme and mitigation projects across other states.
The settlement follows civil claims filed in the District of Columbia by the US and California Air Resources Board which reports that from 2009 to 2016 Daimler manufactured, imported, and sold more than 250,000 diesel Sprinter vans and passenger cars with defeat devices programmed into the vehicles’ emissions control software.
The United States Department of Justice has announced that Daimler will have to set up a recall and repair program to remove all defeat devices from the affected vehicles at no cost to consumers and bring the vehicles into compliance with applicable emissions standards under the US Clean Air Act.
Affected Mercedes vehicles will be given a software update and replacement of select hardware. Furthermore, Daimler must repair at least 85% of the affected passenger cars within two years and at least 85% of the affected vans within three years. The company has been ordered to offer an extended warranty covering all updated software and hardware, and it must test repaired vehicles each year for the next five years to ensure that the vehicles continue to meet emissions standards over time. Hard-hitting penalties will be given to Daimler if any category of updated vehicles fails to meet applicable emissions standards or if it fails to adhere to the 85% recall rate for passenger cars or vans.
This settlement in the US brings a sense of confidence to Versus Law Solicitors who have started to build a claim and are inviting thousands of Mercedes-Benz vehicle owners in the United Kingdom to get involved and/or register their interest now to join the action. The decision and recent pay outs to owners in the US should leave potential claimants and Mercedes-Benz owners more assured than ever that the courts will rule in their favour.
The issues in the Mercedes-Benz case are similar to the issues raised in the ongoing Volkswagen litigation which has seen HHJ Waksman, alumni of both Manchester and Oxford Universities, in the High Court, in accordance with UK and EU law, determine that the software code hidden deep within the affected vehicles amount to an unlawful ‘defeat device’. This decision along with the decision in the Court of Appeal’s refusal to allow Volkswagen permission to appeal is a clear indication that the court is overwhelmingly likely to rule in their favour. In refusing Volkswagen’s permission to appeal, the experienced judge described their arguments as ‘completely irrelevant, hopeless and highly flawed’, demonstrating that Volkswagens defence is not robust enough for the High Court.
The news is encouraging for claimants who have and are looking to join the group litigation with Versus Law against Mercedes-Benz. The settlement brings optimism to all affected owners. Versus Law now looks forward to achieving a good result for Mercedes drivers who have joined our group claim in the UK. However, there is still time for other Mercedes drivers who believe their cars may have been similarly affected, to join the claim.