Class action claim filed over Volkswagen emissions

Regina-based lawyer Tony Merchant says he has filed class action claims over the issue of emission standards and Volkswagen vehicles.
Regina lawyer Tony Merchant is pursuing a lawsuit against Volkswagen. (CBC )

Regina-based lawyer Tony Merchant says he has filed class action claims over the issue of emission standards and Volkswagen vehicles.

Merchant said he has claims filed in the courts of B.C., Ontario and Quebec and expects to file soon in Saskatchewan and other provinces. He said he has not yet identified a specific figure for damages but expects it will be in the hundreds of millions of dollars.

"We think there are 40,000 cars affected in Canada," Merchant told CBC News News Tuesday night. "We think the loss of value for each car is about $10,000. It's a huge amount of money — about $400 million."

"The class action alleges serious and pervasive design defects in subject vehicles including, but not limited to, severely toxic emissions above legal limits," a notice on a Merchant Law Group website inviting people to participate in the action said.

According to the site, the lawsuit — if certified and successful — will "seek financial compensation or benefits for affected Canadians who own or lease one of the defective vehicles in question."

The notice identified the following Volkswagen models in the action:

  • Jetta: 2009-2015.
  • Golf: 2010-2015.
  • Beetle: 2013-2015.
  • Passat: 2012-2015.
  • Golf Wagon / Sportwagon: 2009-2015.

Filing a class action lawsuit is the first step in the litigation of alleged claims.

Merchant said a key element of the claim is seeking compensation for lost value.

"This isn't a dealer-fix kind of issue," Merchant said, in reference to the alleged defect affecting the vehicles. "Because VW cannot repair the problem, this will be the largest compensation ever paid by a company, if things go as expected."

He noted the company has already made an apology and appeared to be setting aside funds to respond to the scandal.

"They're in even worse shape because they deliberately covered it up and tried to hide the truth from people," he added.

Merchant estimated the litigation process would take several months and it could be a year before any settlement is reached.

Tony Merchant has become known for pursuing class action lawsuits in Canada. He was a key lawyer involved in lawsuits over abuse at residential schools.


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