Lieff Cabraser Civil Justice Blog
VW Diesel Emissions Scandal Settlement

Court Grants Preliminary Approval to $14.7 Billion Settlement in VW Diesel Emissions Scandal

As reported by the Wall Street Journal, The Guardian, and numerous other outlets, U.S. District Judges Charles Breyer has granted preliminary approval to a $14.7 billion settlement in the Volkswagen diesel emissions case, where more than 500 federal lawsuits have been filed and consolidated into one complaint against the automaker for its “dirty diesel” vehicles. In late 2015, the German carmaker publicly admitted that it had rigged emissions production in the diesel engines of approximately 11 million vehicles worldwide.

“It’s all about choice,” said lead plaintiffs’ attorney Elizabeth Cabraser, noting that diesel drivers thought they were making a decision to buy an environmentally friendly vehicle but “were deprived of that choice.”

Volkswagen has agreed to pay $10 billion buying back or repairing the 475,000 VW and Audi automobiles with 2-liter diesel engines. In addition, car owners will be provided with compensation between $5,100 and $10,000. An average of $3,500 will be given to those who leased an affected VW diesel vehicle. The settlement deal also includes $2.7 billion for environmental modification, as well as $2 billion geared towards the automaker’s zero-emissions plan.

We have designed a settlement that places consumers, the owners and lessees in a central, decisive role.

–Elizabeth Cabraser

The case is In Re: Volkswagen “Clean Diesel” Marketing, Sales Practices and Products Liability Litigation, MDL 2672, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California (San Francisco).

Final court approval of the settlement is scheduled to take place on October 18, 2016. VW vehicle owners and lessees will be notified of their options through print mailings, emails, websites, media advertisements and a hotline. This deal does not cover the 85,000 3-liter diesel engines.