Settlement delivers “substantial, tangible benefits” to class members, with extremely high participation rates
As reported by Law360 (subscription), the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal has affirmed the $10 billion deal between consumers and Volkswagen covering over 475,000 diesel vehicles in the diesel engine emissions fraud scandal that first broke in 2015. The Court upheld the settlement relating to 2.0 liter engine VW, Porsche, and Audi vehicles after reviewing six separate appeals.
As the Court wrote, “Volkswagen duped half a million Americans into buying cars advertised as ‘clean diesel.’ They were anything but. As the lawsuits piled up, the car manufacturer hammered out a ten-billion-dollar settlement with a class of consumers, agreeing to fix or buy back the affected vehicles and providing some additional money as well. Following a thorough review, the district court blessed the agreement.”
The Court’s opinion highlighted the benefits the settlement delivered to all consumer class members, including the high payouts:
In addition, the Court noted the high rate of participation in and enthusiasm for the settlement on the part of the class:
“Far from getting the short end of the stick, the eligible sellers gained enormously from being in the class with vehicle owners,” the Panel stated. “Instead of getting nothing, eligible sellers received several thousand dollars in compensation. They quite possibly obtained it because they were in the same class as vehicle owners who had leverage against Volkswagen, not in spite of that inclusion.”
“We are pleased with the court’s decision, which acknowledges the widespread support this historic settlement has received from affected Volkswagen owners and lessees and the substantial benefits available to class members,” noted Elizabeth Cabraser, plaintiffs’ lead counsel in the historic litigation.
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