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Law firm steps up emissions compensation claim against Mercedes

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Law firm Hagen Berman UK says it has filed proceedings against Daimler AG, Mercedes Benz Cars UK and Mercedes Benz Financial Services UK, in a bid to secure compensation payouts for drivers affected by emissions “cheating”.

The firm alleges that Mercedes programmed some of its diesel models produced between 2008 and 2018 to reduce the vehicles’ illegally high levels of nitrogen oxide when the vehicles were being tested for emissions.

In August last year, the German car maker agreed to pay a £560m settlement to owners in the USA after it was accused of cheating emissions tests.

Mercedes-Benz said cars sold in the US used different emissions control systems to those in Europe, however, and believes the claims brought forward by UK law firms are “without merit”.

Some 33,000 people in England and Wales have registered interest to have Hagens Berman represent them in the group litigation. The law firm says claimants can now formally opt in to join the case. Other interested parties are also still eligible to join.

“British consumers have a similar right to compensation for unlawful, deceptive and defective emissions-cheating implemented by Mercedes,” said Steve Berman, managing partner of Hagens Berman. “Following the $700 million US settlement against Mercedes, we spent the past year laying the foundation for equally successful litigation in the UK. We are now poised to hold Mercedes and other defendants to account.”

A number of car makers are being targeting by law firms for emissions cheating. Most recently, Harcus Parker announced it was investing all car makers that sold diesel models between 2009 and 2018. So far, no claims have been successful.

A 2016 investigation by the Vehicle Certification Agency, on behalf of the Department for Transport, found that only Volkswagen Group vehicles featured defeat devices designed specifically to beat official testing.

However, the tests provided further evidence that NOx emissions from diesel vehicles were higher in real-world conditions and on the test track than in laboratory conditions.

The investigation concluded that the EU regulations provided uncertainty about how emissions control systems may be reduced or deactivated in certain conditions and did not detail how the exceptions to the ban on defeat devices should apply, whether or how manufacturers should apply these exemptions, or how a type approval authority should evaluate the validity of their use.

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