Mercedes-Benz BlueTEC Lawsuit Tossed Out by Judge

Judge throws out lawsuit that alleges Mercedes-Benz BlueTEC diesel vehicles emit illegal emissions.

Posted in News

— A Mercedes-Benz BlueTEC lawsuit has been thrown out by a judge after the plaintiff failed to convince the court the BlueTEC diesel vehicles emit illegal levels of nitrogen oxide emissions.

The BlueTEC lawsuit was filed in February 2016 and alleges Mercedes-Benz programmed its "clean diesel" BlueTEC vehicles to emit illegal levels of nitrogen oxides during real-world driving.

Plaintiff Gwendolyn Andary says she bought a new 2013 Mercedes GLK 250 BlueTEC allegedly equipped with an emissions system that turns off nitrogen oxide reduction when the temperature drops below 50 degrees.

The Mercedes-Benz BlueTEC diesel vehicles named in the lawsuit are the following:

  • Mercedes-Benz ML 320
  • Mercedes-Benz ML 350
  • Mercedes-Benz GL 320
  • Mercedes-Benz E320
  • Mercedes-Benz S350
  • Mercedes-Benz R320
  • Mercedes-Benz E Class
  • Mercedes-Benz GL Class
  • Mercedes-Benz ML Class
  • Mercedes-Benz R Class
  • Mercedes-Benz S Class
  • Mercedes-Benz GLK Class
  • Mercedes-Benz GLE Class
  • Mercedes-Benz Sprinter

The BlueTEC diesel lawsuit claims testing was conducted at highway speeds and low temperatures and resulted in emissions levels 8 to 19 times higher than legal standards. In addition, testing conducted at variable speeds and low temperatures produced nitrogen oxide emission levels as high as 30 times above standards.

The BlueTEC lawsuit says the emissions system allegedly works by reducing nitrogen oxides through the exhaust gas recirculation system and a diesel oxidation catalyst reduces the carbon monoxide and hydrocarbons.

Further, the system uses a particulate filter to trap and store soot particles and the diesel oxidation catalyst upstream helps to remove the particles from the particulate trap.

In some cases the engine will remove excessive particulate buildup by raising the exhaust temperature, and in some older model vehicles a nitrogen oxide storage catalyst will be used to perform the final removal of nitrogen oxide emissions from the exhaust before it exits the tailpipe.

The Mercedes case doesn't accuse the automaker of specifically using software to fool emissions tests. However, the lawsuit does accuse Mercedes of programming its BlueTEC vehicles with an emissions "defeat device" that turns off the nitrogen oxide reduction system when the temps drop below 50.

Mentioned in the lawsuit is a story from German magazine Der Spiegel where, according to the lawsuit, Mercedes-Benz admitted that a shut-off device in the engine management system of C-Class diesel cars stops nitrogen oxide cleaning under certain circumstances.

Mercedes says the shut-off is used to protect the engine, but the magazine didn't provide details about what the automaker meant by that statement.

The plaintiff in the BlueTEC lawsuit claims consumers are deceived by false representations and marketing of the diesel vehicles that are “the world’s cleanest and most advanced diesel” vehicles that emit “up to 30% lower greenhouse-gas emissions than gasoline.”

But U.S. District Judge Jose L. Linares ruled there is no proof Mercedes-Benz misled the plaintiffs because there is no evidence the plaintiffs saw BlueTEC advertisements that promoted the benefits of clean emissions technology. However, the judge left the door open for the plaintiffs to amend the lawsuit.

The Mercedes-Benz BlueTEC lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey - Gwendolyn Andary, et al v. Mercedes-Benz USA LLC.

The plaintiff is represented by Hagens Berman.