The National Law Journal has named Lieff Cabraser founding partner Elizabeth Cabraser a 2017 Energy and Environmental Law Trailblazer. Editor Richard Caruso notes that each of the 2017 award recipients “has shown a deep passion and perserverance in the pursuit of their mission, having achieved remarkable success along the way.”
Noting that Ms. Cabraser’s environmental work is a signal element of Lieff Cabraser’s personal injury and class action practice, the National Law Journal brought particular attention to Ms. Cabraser’s work as Lead Counsel and Chair of the Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee in the historic Volkswagen Diesel Emissions case, a trailblazing giant of litigation that involved active coordination between the Environmental Protection Agency, the Federal Trade Commission, the California Air Resources Board, and the class of hundreds of thousands of vehicle owners. “It’s a complex series of settlements, but the concept is simple: create economic incentives that compensate owners for the fraud and enable them to do the good they thought there were doing in the first place [by purchasing what were purported to be environmentally-conscious vehicles],” stated Cabraser.
Cabraser further noted, “VW is a continuum of what we started in Exxon Valdez and continued in Deepwater Horizon. The common denominator is not just severe and long-lasting environmental damages, but ones that are manifested in easily demonstrable harm to our clients.”
About Elizabeth Cabraser
For just under four decades, Elizabeth Cabraser has fought to advance and preserve justice in hundreds of complex consumer fraud, securities, personal injury, employment, environmental, and antitrust cases across America, including multi-state tobacco, Vioxx, Breast Implants, Fen-Phen, Exxon Valdez, BP Gulf Oil Spill, Toyota sudden acceleration, the Bank of New York Mellon FX transaction overcharges, and historic Holocaust litigation. Ms. Cabraser presently serves in court-appointed leadership positions in several of the nation’s highest profile civil cases, including the Volkswagen “Clean Diesel” emissions MDL, the GM ignition switch defect MDL, and the Takata defective airbag litigation.
About the Volkswagen “Clean Diesel” Litigation
The historic In re: Volkswagen “Clean Diesel” MDL set over 550,000 Volkswagen, Audi, and Porsche diesel owners and lessees in litigation against Volkswagen over “cheat device” software that drastically reduced emissions during testing. Nine months of intensive negotiation and extraordinary coordination for the vehicle owner class by Lead Counsel Elizabeth Cabraser and the Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee produced class settlements for 2.0-liter vehicles totaling $10 billion approved by Judge Breyer in October 2016, and class settlements for 3.0-liter engine vehicles valued to at least $1.2 billion approved in May 2017.
The “Clean Diesels” settlements are unprecedented for their scope and complexity, combining consumer compensation, environmental relief, fines and penalties, coordinated by the Department of Justice, EPA, CARB and California AG, the Federal Trade Commission and class plaintiffs. The combined funding commitment by VW to pay 2.0-liter and 3.0-liter TDI class claims alone is from $11.2-$14.2 billion, plus over $5 billion in environmental payments. The Volkswagen class settlements comprise the largest known consumer class settlement in American history and a triumph for coordination of government and private prosecutions.