Mercedes-Benz settles Australian car emission class action lawsuit

The German auto giant Mercedes-Benz has settled in Canada a class action lawsuit in relation to the emission testing scandal that engulfed the company four years ago, the judge presiding over the case announced Thursday.

Judge Alexander Lambdin said in his decision that he believes Mercedes-Benz has “now taken adequate and sufficient action to remedy” its wrongdoing, according to Reuters.

“I find it uncontroversial that this global settlement provides not only compensation to the purchasers, but also to the company’s past and present reputation,” Lambdin wrote in his decision. “From a business perspective, it is in Mercedes-Benz’s best interest to fully settle these claims, particularly as the costs and potential liabilities related to this case have only increased over time.”

The case, presented by Hyundai, Chrysler, Mitsubishi, Subaru and Daimler-Benz, has resulted in lawsuits from its many lead plaintiffs, nearly 10,000 in all. Attorneys have accused the manufacturers of a pattern of deception on the part of the German car makers, which resulted in the emissions test cheating scandal that prompted sweeping reform in the industry and investigations by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Mercedes-Benz is one of the more prominent defendants in the Canadian class action, which began in June 2015.

In March 2016, a top employee at the company, Bodo Uebber, revealed details of the emissions testing scandal to the press, but the company continued to deny any wrongdoing.

In early 2017, government investigators looked into the automobile company’s cheating, and in June 2017, the EPA issued a formal notice of violation against the company, which resulted in an administrative fine. In October 2017, Volkswagen Group of America pleaded guilty to conspiracy to defraud the United States in connection with the diesel emissions test scandal, according to Reuters.

Travis Miller, an attorney for the plaintiffs in the class action case, said that while “clarity has come with the settlement,” he believes that more needs to be done.

“This is a huge step forward,” Miller said in a statement, reported by Reuters. “And we’re not finished just yet. Our investigation, along with ongoing efforts by German authorities, should lead to further discipline, and potentially criminal charges, down the road.”

Representatives from the car manufacturer could not be reached for comment.

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