The Consumer Attorneys of California have announced their list of finalists for the 2017 Consumer Attorney of the Year award, a list that includes Lieff Cabraser’s Volkswagen diesel emissions fraud case team. Led by Elizabeth Cabraser, who serves as Lead Class Counsel and Chair of the Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee in the historic litigation, the team also includes David S. Stellings, Kevin R. Budner, Wilson M. Dunlavey, and Phong-Chau G. Nguyen.
Volkswagen has agreed to separate settlements for affected 2.0-liter and 3.0-liter engine vehicles in the wake of revelations that the vehicles engines’ ran under software calculated to run emissions controls only during formal testing, leaving the engines to spew up to 40 times legal pollutant limits during actual road use.
From the CAOC’s news release on the award:
In re Volkswagen “Clean Diesel” MDL
TAKING POLLUTING CARS OFF THE ROAD AFTER VOLKSWAGEN’S DECEIT
Volkswagen sold 575,000 diesel-powered cars in the U.S. under the Volkswagen and Audi brands on which the company installed software intentionally changing the vehicles’ emission production during official testing. Only when the programming detected the vehicles were undergoing official emissions testing did the cars activate full emission control systems. Those emission controls were turned off during actual road use, producing up to 40 times more pollutants than the testing amounts in an extraordinary violation of U.S. clean air laws.
After the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency issued a violation notice to Volkswagen in September 2015, vehicle owners, state governments and federal agencies all sought compensation and relief from VW through litigation. More than 1,000 individual civil cases and government claims were consolidated in federal court in Northern California, and Elizabeth Cabraser was appointed by the court to be lead counsel. In that capacity she also chaired the plaintiffs’ steering committee that included numerous prominent attorneys.
Months of intensive negotiations produced interrelated settlements that were given final approval in October 2016 and May 2017. The settlements offer owners and lessees of Volkswagen and Audi 2.0- and 3.0-liter diesel vehicles substantial compensation through buybacks, lease terminations and government-approved emissions modifications, resulting in these polluting vehicles being either fixed or taken off the road. Most consumers have opted for buybacks, and VW has already paid or committed to pay more than $10 billion. As The American Lawyer wrote, “This deal is a win for literally everyone who breathes.”
The winners will be revealed at CAOC’s Annual Installation and Awards Dinner Nov. 18, to be held in conjunction with CAOC’s 56th Annual Convention at the Palace Hotel in San Francisco. “Consumer Attorney of the Year” is awarded to a CAOC member or members who significantly advanced the rights or safety of California consumers by achieving a noteworthy result in a case.