Almost two years since VW’s dieselgate first hit the fan, new class action litigation hints that problems still linger for the German automaker. The most recent allegations involve the CC Sport (marketed as a non-sports car with sports car-like handling) and potentially other VW models with similar suspension systems. The problem is a dangerous defect that prevents the vehicle from maintaining proper alignment and causing tires to experience premature and uneven wearing—ultimately leading to unnecessary expenses and unsafe handling conditions. The firmer-than-usual suspension system in question has been in production for more than 10 years, and it is not yet clear as to all the models that might be affected.
As to the unsafe condition that could be created by such a defect, the class action lawsuit points to a study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in 2009 that states worn tires is a leading cause of tire-related auto accidents. The study also found that tire-related crashes were more likely to occur as a vehicle’s tire tread wears down.
Considering the company’s previous actions, it shouldn’t be surprising that there’s more to the story: the lawsuit also claims that Volkswagen has known of the suspension and alignment system defect for years, yet never offered any relief to vehicle owners who have experienced issues. Such ignorance of accountability recalls the diesel emissions scandal that ultimately cost VW $14.7 billion. And VW’s legal woes continue to mount, as a class action from former VW owners claiming that the emissions scandal caused their vehicles to lose value has emerged, as well as other allegations of VW’s participation in a “German car cartel” that—along with Mercedes, Porsche and BMW—has conspired to set the price, output, innovation and technical standards of their vehicles for years. Only time will tell how this all shakes out for the European car brand, but, suffice to say, if you’re a VW owner you might want to check into whether or not any of these legal actions relate to your vehicle.
Derek T. Braslow is a partner of Pogust Braslow & Millrood, LLC. He is one of the first attorneys to file suit on behalf of families who lost a child, spouse or parent to suicide as a result of psychotropic medication and one of the first to file a suit against investigators, sponsors and institutional review boards for conducting unethical human clinical trials. Derek was voted by his colleagues as a Rising Star and SuperLawyer in the area of Pharmaceutical and Mass Tort litigation.