At a hearing today in federal court in San Francisco before District Court Judge Charles M. Breyer, meaningful progress was reported towards a settlement between Volkswagen and over 650 U.S. VW franchise dealerships over vehicles “rendered unsellable” by the company’s diesel emissions scandal. The parties announced a proposed deal that includes a settlement fund as well as a buyback plan for used diesel vehicles that Law360 (subscription) noted would be “under the same terms available to owners of 2.0-liter vehicles” under the earlier-announced $14.7 billion settlement. The value of the proposed settlement fund for dealerships was not disclosed.
Judge Breyer went on to review the status of negotiations over Volkswagen’s 3.0-liter engine cars in the U.S., vehicles not covered under the June settlement over 2.0-liter engines. Volkswagen’s attorneys expressed optimism about finding a fix for the approximately 80,000 affected U.S. 3-liter cars.
Elizabeth Cabraser, Lead Counsel and Chair of the 22-member Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee in the litigation, noted that she was pleased that over 200,000 2.0-liter engine vehicle owners and lessees had taken the first steps to participate in the settlement even though their claim deadline is over 2 years away. Cabraser indicated a desire to “set the course of potential 3-liter resolution on essentially the same timetable,” a proposal that appeared to meet with the court’s favor. Judge Breyer noted that the possibility of a trial as early as the summer of 2017 would “ensure that there is a sense of reality in moving the litigation forward communicate exactly the sense of urgency that the Court feels must be understood and acted upon by counsel.”
The Court ordered Volkswagen to submit its proposed fixes for the 3.0L diesel vehicles to the EPA by October 24, 2016. The Court also ordered the parties to begin settlement discussions for the 3.0L diesel vehicles, and set a November 3, 2016 hearing date for the parties to report on their progress, including the status of Volkswagen’s proposed 3.0L fixes.
Learn more about the VW Emissions fraud litigation.