A class action against car company Mercedes-Benz is seeking hundreds of millions of dollars in damages over the alleged use of “cheat devices” to manipulate diesel emissions.
The action, filed in the Victorian supreme court on Tuesday, covers thousands of vehicles sold in Australia over a 10-year period.
Compensation law firm Gerard Malouf and Partners will argue the devices manipulated diesel engine emission levels of harmful gases, including nitrogen oxide, to pass regulatory testing.
The firm says past or present owners of affected Mercedes-Benz diesel vehicles, either new or secondhand, manufactured between January 2008 and December 2018 may be entitled to significant damages which could include a portion of the purchase price.
It has entered into an information-sharing arrangement with US class action law firm Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro after it recently settled a similar action against Mercedes-Benz there for about $1.3bn.
“This information-sharing arrangement is a great step forward towards achieving just compensation for those consumers in Australia which have been affected,” GMP chairman Gerard Malouf said in a statement.
“Based upon the findings from the numerous international court proceedings as well as government investigations, we strongly believe Mercedes has … a serious case to answer.”
“We intend to stand up for the rights of all consumers to protect their health, financial interests and the environment.”
The class action will seek compensation for the loss of value of the affected vehicles along with punitive damages.
Mercedes-Benz has been contacted for comment.