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The State of New Mexico Obtains Settlement Four Times Larger Than Other States

DiCello Levitt wins New Mexico maximum damages for clean diesel scandal.

In August 2019, New Mexico secured a $13.5 million settlement against Volkswagen, Audi, and Porsche. The car makers marketed and sold “clean diesel” vehicles that were advertised to be an environmentally friendly alternative to hybrid and electric cars. In fact, the vehicles contained “defeat device” software designed to conceal harmful emissions. The cars were fully compliant with EPA standards when in test mode. However, when they were driven normally, they could emit 40 times more nitrogen-oxide than the federal limit.

Litigation against Volkswagen, Audi, and Porsche was extensive. Rather than settling quickly with the auto manufacturers, as did many other states, New Mexico chose to pursue fair compensation from the defendants. State Attorney General Hector Balderas selected DiCello Levitt and Albuquerque firm Robles Rael & Anaya to pursue the case, with DiCello Levitt attorneys Adam Levitt and Daniel Ferri taking the lead.

The state’s choice to litigate proved wise. The New Mexico settlement reached $4,700 per affected vehicle—400% more than the multistate Attorney General settlement and 33% higher than the per-vehicle settlement achieved by any other state. “We are gratified that the State of New Mexico recognized the substantial benefit of ‘going it alone’ in this important litigation,” said Adam Levitt. “This case and outcome again confirm that it’s a privilege to do business in New Mexico and that the State, and its Attorney General, will come down hard on companies that abuse that privilege.”