ATLANTA (September 28, 2020) – The Environmental Protection Commission of Hillsborough County, Florida, has filed a complaint alleging the engines in Mercedes-Benz diesel vehicles spewed illegal amounts of toxic emissions into the air by way of a Cheat Device. Hillsborough County is suing Mercedes-Benz USA, LLC, Daimler Aktiengesellschaft, the automaker’s German parent company, Robert Bosch, LLC, and Robert Bosch GmbH to hold the designer, manufacturer and retailer accountable for the excessive pollution.
The Hillsborough Commissioners, seated in Tampa, unanimously authorized the lawsuit Sept. 24, selecting Beasley, Allen, Crow, Methvin, Portis & Miles, P.C.; Gardner Brewer Martinez-Monfort; and the law office of Thomas L. Young to represent the county.
Beasley Allen is also representing Hillsborough County in a similar emissions cheat lawsuit against Volkswagen. That case, which was filed in 2016, is pending in federal court. Beasley Allen lawyers Dee Miles, Leslie Pescia and Tyner Helms represent Hillsborough County in that case.
On Sept. 14, the U.S. Justice Department (DOJ) announced it had reached a $1.5 billion settlement with Daimler over its rigged diesel Mercedes Benz vehicles. The agreement, which remains under a 30-day public comment period and is subject to court approval, requires Mercedes-Benz to pay $945 million in penalties, recall and repair the emissions systems in diesel vehicles it sold in the U.S. from 2009 to 2016, and extend the warranty for vehicle parts.
Under the agreement, Daimler/Mercedes-Benz will also execute projects to mitigate ozone-creating nitrogen oxides emitted from the vehicles and implement new internal audit procedures designed to prevent future emissions cheating, including about $110 million for pollution mitigation projects in California.
The DOJ alleged that Mercedes-Benz made more than a quarter-million diesel-powered Sprinter vans and cars that were equipped with undisclosed “defeat devices” programmed into the emissions control software. These cheats allow the vehicles to emit unlawfully high levels of nitrogen oxide into the environment during normal driving. When the vehicles are undergoing testing, the defeat devices restrict the nitrogen oxide emissions, allowing the vehicles to meet Clean Air standards.
The lawsuit was filed in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida, Tampa Division. Case No. 8:20-cv-02238-VMC-JSS.