Elizabeth Cabraser, lead counsel for the consumer plaintiffs in the Volkswagen “Clean Diesel” Marketing, Sales Practices, and Products Liability Litigation, released the following statement regarding the Court granting final approval of the Volkswagen and Audi 2.0-Liter Emissions Settlement.
“We are very pleased the Court has granted final approval to this historic settlement that holds Volkswagen accountable for its illegal behavior and breach of consumer trust. We encourage all class members to take advantage of the significant compensation this settlement provides, which also fixes or removes these polluting cars from our roads. Those who wish to participate in the settlement have until September 1, 2018, to submit their claims.
“While we are now able to begin providing benefits to affected 2.0-liter owners and lessees, those with depreciated and polluting 3.0-liter vehicles deserve a similarly fair and speedy resolution. We continue our efforts on their behalf, and will report on our progress to the Court at a status conference on November 3, 2016. Litigation against the Bosch defendants is also proceeding per the schedule set by the Court.”
This video explains the options available to Class Members under the settlement:
Under the class action settlement agreement, Volkswagen will create a funding pool of up to $10.033 billion dollars. The settlement will provide consumers the choice of:
- A Buyback or lease termination on approximately 475,000 2.0-liter diesel vehicles.
- If approved by the EPA and California Air Resources Board (or CARB), an emissions modification to ensure the vehicle no longer generates excess nitrogen oxide emissions.
Whether they choose a Buyback or an approved emissions modification, the settlement also offers eligible owners and lessees cash compensation. This is in addition to the vehicle’s buyback value or approved modification.
Under settlements with EPA and CARB, which are incorporated in the class action settlement agreement, Volkswagen will pay an additional $2.7 billion for environmental remediation and commit another $2.0 billion to promote Zero Emissions Vehicle technology. Volkswagen will also be required to pay additional money into a mitigation trust if it fails to remove from commerce or modify at least 85 percent of covered 2.0 liter vehicles by June 30, 2019. In addition, Volkswagen reached agreements with the Federal Trade Commission as well as a number of State Attorneys General.
Under the terms of the proposed class settlement, eligible owners who choose the Buyback program will receive a payment based on the September 2015 National Automobile Dealers Association (“NADA”) Clean Trade-In value of the car (before the emissions conduct became public), adjusted for their options and mileage. Certain owners will be eligible for forgiveness of their car loan obligations, and certain lessees will be able to terminate their lease with no early termination penalty and receive a lessee payment. Volkswagen may begin buying back eligible vehicles as early as the fall of 2016, just over one year after the diesel emissions issues were first revealed.
Alternatively, if owners or lessees prefer, they can wait and see whether an emissions modification is approved by EPA and CARB for their vehicles. If an EPA and CARB-approved emissions modification becomes available, Volkswagen will modify their non-compliant 2.0-liter vehicle free of charge. If a modification is not approved for a certain vehicle, the Buyback Program will still be available, or a class member can withdraw from the settlement. Volkswagen will be prohibited from re-selling in the U.S. or abroad any vehicle that does not receive an approved emissions modification.
Current and certain former owners and lessees will also receive cash payments in addition to the buyback value or approved modification. The amount is the same whether one participates in the buyback or modification program. The settlement agreement includes a formula for how this cash payment is determined. For example, most owners who purchased a 2.0-liter vehicle before September 18, 2015 will be eligible for a payment ranging from $5,100 to approximately $10,000 per vehicle. This cash is to be paid on top of the September 2015 Clean Trade-in value for those participating in the Buyback Program.
Class members can visit www.VWCourtSettlement.com to learn if they have an eligible vehicle and for settlement-related notices, news and updates. Now that the Court has granted final approval, the claims process is open to eligible Volkswagen and Audi 2.0 liter owners and lessees. Volkswagen will provide benefits as claims are processed. Volkswagen and Audi 3.0-liter vehicles are not covered in this settlement, as those discussions are currently on a separate track. Additional information can also be found on the Court’s website: http://www.cand.uscourts.gov/crb/vwmdl.
About Elizabeth Cabraser
A name partner and co-founder of Lieff Cabraser, Ms. Cabraser chairs the firm’s personal injury and environmental litigation practice groups. One of the nation’s leading class action litigators and possessing unparalleled expertise in complex civil litigation, she has served as court-appointed lead, co-lead, or class counsel in scores of federal multi-district and state coordinated proceedings. Today, she serves in court-appointed leadership positions in several of the nation’s highest profile civil cases, including a solo leadership role in the VW “Clean Diesel” Emissions case, as well as lead positions in the GM ignition switch defect and Takata defective airbag cases.