Lieff Cabraser Civil Justice Blog
September 2018 VW Emissions Deadline

VW Diesel Emissions Claims Deadline is Rapidly Approaching for 2.0 Liter Engine Vehicles

As reported by Green Car Reports, U.S. owners of 2.0-liter 4-cylinder VW cars must complete the filing of their diesel emissions fraud settlement paperwork by September 1st, 2018, to be eligible for at least $5,100 in compensation from Volkswagen. After filing, all claims must be settled by December 31, 2018, but again, they must be submitted by the September 1 deadline to be eligible.

Lieff Cabraser founding partner Elizabeth Cabraser, the lead plaintiff’s attorney representing U.S. Volkswagen owners in the class action consumer fraud lawsuit against Volkswagen over emissions “defeat devices” that generated false emissions measures during testing, notes that while many VW owners filed their claims early on in the settlement process, they have not yet submitted the necessary paperwork to finalize their claims and choose whether they want VW to buy their cars back or repair them.

As Green Car notes, “Some owners may have been waiting to hear the success of the repairs or the size of VW’s settlement before deciding what remedy they wanted. Others may be penny-pinchers trying to eke every last dollar out of their TDIs by taking advantage of the settlement’s terms that froze values of the TDI cars as of September 2015 – minus a mileage deduction for miles over 12,500 miles added since then. These owners could avoid depreciation on their cars for two years, and drive 12,500 miles essentially for free.”

Regardless of any underlying reasoning, time is running out, and owners of affected VW diesel vehicles with 2.0 liter engines have less than two months to choose their settlement terms and submit their completed paperwork.

Claims must be complete and submitted by September 1, 2018. The final deadline for VW to settle all claims with a repair or buyback is 12/30/18. To ensure consumers’ claims are settled by the deadline, buyers should return their accepted settlement offers no later than December 1, 2018.

Under the 2.0 liter engine settlement terms, Volkswagen will pay owners at least $5,100, plus the value of the car, if the owner sells it back to VW. And some owners may be eligible for more. VW owners who choose the repair option will still get at least $5,100, plus the repair.

To date, 355,000 owners have had their 2.0 liter diesels bought back, and another 57,000 have had their cars repaired to release reduced pollutant amounts as per the historic settlement, approved by Judge Charles Breyer of the U.S. District Court in San Francisco in October of 2016. Current data indicates that owners have favored buybacks over repairs approximately 6-to-1.

“Volkswagen has already met the minimum requirement to buy back or repair at least 85 percent of the cars nationwide and in California, and about 95 percent of 2.0-liter TDI owners have submitted initial claims. A little less than 10 percent are still in the claims process or have not submitted paperwork to finalize their claim and choose their remedy,” notes Green Car.

Cabraser notes that the goal is to achieve 100 percent participation in the claims process in what has been one of the most widely publicized class action settlements in history. “This is what we need to enforce our laws and provide an incentive for manufacturers to follow our environmental regulations,” she explains. “If I have one message to owners, it’s to get your claim finalized before you crash your car (or before something else happens to it).”

Cabraser is also the lead attorney for the class-action settlement involving 3.0-liter V-6 TDIs, which runs one more year.