Elizabeth Cabraser, Court-appointed Lead Counsel for the Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee in the Volkswagen “Clean Diesel” Marketing, Sales Practices, and Products Liability Litigation, released the following statement regarding news reports involving 3.0-liter TDI vehicles.
“No settlement agreement has been reached on behalf of owners and lessees of Volkswagen 3.0-liter TDI vehicles. Any resolution must grant these consumers similar benefits — including a choice between a buyback or a fix if approved by regulators — as were offered to class members in the 2.0-liter vehicle litigation. While an agreement between the EPA and Volkswagen may address some of the environmental damage, it does not hold the company accountable for the harm caused to consumers. We will continue to pursue a fair resolution on their behalf.”
“The strong praise the 2.0 liter agreement received from affected owners and lessees, environmental and consumer groups, auto industry analysts and ultimately the Court confirms this is the model that should be followed in any 3.0 liter resolution. Per the Court’s order, we cannot comment further on the settlement negotiation process.”
About the Volkswagen ‘Clean Diesel’ Marketing, Sales Practices, and Products Liability Litigation
In September of 2015, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency issued a Notice of Violation to Volkswagen relating to nearly 482,000 diesel-powered cars in the United States sold since 2008 under the VW and Audi brands on which VW installed “cheat device” software that intentionally changed the vehicles’ emissions production during official testing. Only when the programming detected that the vehicles were undergoing official emissions testing did the cars turn on their full emission control systems. The controls were turned off during actual road use, producing up to 40x more pollutants than the testing amounts in an extraordinary violation of U.S. clean air laws.
On December 8th, 2015, the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation issued an order consolidating over 500 class actions against Volkswagen into a single multidistrict litigation, In re: Volkswagen ‘Clean Diesel’ Marketing, Sales Practices, and Products Liability Litigation, MDL No. 2672, and transferred the entire MDL to Judge Charles R. Breyer of the federal district court for the Northern District of California.
On January 21st, 2016, Judge Breyer held a hearing on the requests by over 150 plaintiff’s attorneys for leadership roles in the gigantic Volkswagen MDL, and over 50 sought to serve as lead counsel or to chair the plaintiffs’ steering committee. Judge Breyer issued an order naming 22 attorneys to a Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee, and of those, selected Elizabeth Cabraser of Lieff Cabraser as Lead Counsel and Chair of the 22-member Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee.
On June 28, 2016, following eight months of intensive negotiations among Volkswagen, class plaintiffs, and federal and state regulators, a set of interrelated settlements, including a nationwide consumer class settlement, were filed to provide owners and lessees of Volkswagen and Audi 2.0-liter diesel vehicles with substantial compensation through buybacks and lease terminations, government-approved emissions modifications, and cash payments, while fixing or removing these polluting vehicles from the road. On October 25, 2016, Judge Breyer granted final approval to the $14.7 billion resolution of the litigation relating to 2.0-liter vehicles.