Three plaintiffs filed a class action lawsuit [complaint, PDF] on Tuesday in the US District Court for the District of New Jersey [official website] alleging that BMW [official website] cheated during emissions tests of their diesel vehicles. The plaintiffs, individual customers from Colorado, Maryland and Pennsylvania, allege that they and similarly situated customers “would not have purchased their vehicles because they would not have done so if BMW truthfully disclosed the vehicles were unlawfully on the road and/or did not deliver improved emissions and fuel performance over gas powered vehicles.”
The complaint alleges that the X5 xDrive35d and 335d models built between 2009 and 2011 emit levels of nitrogen oxide 27 times higher than the legal limit. BMW is accused of colluding with Robert Bosch GmbH [official website] and its American subsidiary to construct software and devices to manipulate emission testing systems. It also maintains that similar Bosch devices were used by Fiat Chrysler and Volkswagen [JURIST reports] to obtain fraudulent emissions test results.
The suit accuses BMW of racketeering, corruption and fraud due to exaggerating the quality of vehicle performance to increase consumer sales, under both the federal RICO law [text] and the consumer protection and unfair trade practices acts of 50 states.
Volkswagen [corporate website] underwent a similar scandal [JURIST op-ed] in 2015, in which they agreed to pay $14.7 billion [JURIST report] to settle civil claims brought by the Department of Justice, Federal Trade Commission [official websites], the state of California and individual drivers for equipping vehicles with software designed to cheat emissions tests. Claims against Fiat Chrysler were eventually consolidated [case materials] under the federal multi-district litigation program.