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A diesel Passat is photographed at the Al Johnson Volkswagen Volvo dealership on Tuesday, Sept. 22, 2015, in Dalton, Ga.

Car values plummeted for at least seven area people because Volkswagen knowingly installed "defeat devices" to get around environmental standards, according to a federal lawsuit filed Wednesday by a Chattanooga law firm.

The suit requests an unspecified amount of damages from Volkswagen of America, claiming the seven drivers had no idea the corporation was shortchanging their property by rendering it illegal.

"If the plaintiffs and class members had known the true facts about the affected models," wrote the Patrick, Beard, Schulman and Jacoway law firm, "they would not have purchased their vehicles."

This lawsuit here follows on the heels of the emissions scandal, which made international news earlier this week when the Environmental Protection Agency accused the company of installing "defeat devices" to get around regulations in the United States. The suit alleges Volkswagen sold several models in America since 2009 advertising clean diesel engines.

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"These models were marketed as 'clean,'" the suit reads, "when in fact they were not."

Because of this advertising, the seven vehicles boasted a fuel mileage that "would not be possible if the emissions control devices were fully operative," according to the lawsuit.

The seven people, most of whom are from Tennessee and Georgia, purchased their vehicles between 2009 and 2013, expecting clean, high-performing machines, the suit states. Although the cars can be modified to meet regulations, Volkswagen of America will be unable to match "the same horsepower and efficiency," it states.

"The result will be a diminution in the value of the affected models and an increase," the lawsuit says, "in fuel costs for operation of these vehicles."

This is not the only lawsuit going after the corporation, which has a significant presence in Chattanooga.

Records show a Huntsville, Ala., man and an area woman who purchased a vehicle from a Volkswagen dealership in North Little Rock, Ark., both filed lawsuits Wednesday in federal court in Hamilton County.

Contact Zack Peterson at zpeterson@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6347. Follow @zackpeterson918.

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