Sharon Spungen Nov. 19, 2015, 10:35am


LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (Legal Newsline) –  Two Arkansas residents are suing an automobile manufacturer and sellers for what they claim are unfair and deceptive trade practices in the marketing of so-called environmentally friendly cars.

Dennis Shipley of Pulaski County and Cynthia Johnson of Pope County filed suit against Landers Auto Group LLC, NP VKW LLC, doing business as North Point Volkswagen, and Volkswagen Group of America Inc. The lawsuit was originally filed on Sep. 22 in the Pulaski County Circuit Court and was removed by defendants to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas on Nov. 10.

Plaintiffs Shipley and Johnson allege they were induced to purchase diesel Volkswagen and Audi vehicles based on the representations of defendants that the vehicles were environmentally friendly, produced low emissions, and provided high efficiency and fuel performance. They further claim that these vehicles, among others, were equipped with what is known as a "defeat device" which only maximized the emissions controls while the vehicles were being tested and thereafter shut off the majority of the emissions controls, resulting in the car producing pollution at up to 40 times the amount permitted under the Arkansas state regulations and the Clean Air Act.

Their harm, plaintiffs allege, is in the reduction in value of the vehicles given the deceptive practices of the defendants. Further, the plaintiffs claim, defendants engaged in a deceptive and fraudulent course of action resulting in the tolling of the statute of limitations in this matter. Plaintiffs' allegations are that defendants committed fraud, breached their contracts, and breached the express and implied warranties provided in addition to benefiting through unjust enrichment and violating the Arkansas Deceptive Trade Practices Act. The harm, as alleged by the plaintiffs, is not only in the additional costs they paid for these supposedly environmentally friendly vehicles compared with their current value, but in the fact that the cars, in order to obtain EPA compliance, will lose significant aspects of their performance.

Plaintiffs seek compensatory and liquidated damages in an unspecified amount as well as recovery of all costs and fees and have demanded a jury trial. They are represented by attorneys Allison Koile, Maryna Jackson, and Josh Sanford of the Sanford Law Firm PLLC in Little Rock.

U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas case number is 4:15-cv-00696-JLH

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