A New Jersey federal judge has ruled that the Plaintiffs lacked basic standing in their emissions suit against Mercedes-Benz USA LLC. The suit centers on a “defeat device” that Mercedes used in its vehicles to cheat emissions tests, deceptively and fraudulently inducing customers to buy Mercedes vehicles. However, the judge ruled that the Plaintiffs lacked standing because their complaint did “not contain sufficient facts to allege that Plaintiffs’ injuries were fairly traceable to any of the Defendant’s representations.”
The proposed class action claims that Mercedes installed a “defeat device” in its BlueTEC system that allowed its vehicles to pass emissions inspections. Plaintiffs allege that the BlueTEC system, which “cleans” the vehicle’s emissions by converting mono-nitrogen oxides into the relatively harmless components nitrogen and oxygen, only works when temperatures are above 50 degrees Fahrenheit. European governments and some independent companies have found that when the vehicle is operated in sub-50 degree temperatures, the BlueTEC system engines can produce up to 65 times amount of pollutants allowed by the U.S.
The judge based the dismissal on Article III standing, essentially holding that, while Plaintiffs alleged multiple specific advertisements throughout the complaint, which touted the emissions safety and compliance of BlueTEC systems Mercedes, Plainitffs had not alleged that any of these advertisements were actually relied upon and induced a purchase of any vehicle. However, lead Plaintiff Ulyana Lynevych, an Illinois resident, claimed that she bought her Mercedes SUV based on Mercedes’ statements that the BlueTEC engines were cleaner, more powerful, and more efficient than competing gas engines.
The suit was dismissed without prejudice, and Plaintiffs will have another chance to properly invoke standing. Lynevych is represented by James Cecchi and Lindsey Taylor of Carella Byrne Cecchi Olstein Brody & Agnello; Steve Berman and Sean Matt of Hagens Berman Sobol Shapirp; David Freydin and Timothy Scott of the Law Offices of David Freydin and Jeffrey Goldenberg of Goldenberg Schneider. The case is Ulyana Lynevych v. Mercedes-Benz USA LLC in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey.
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