As reported by Law360, on October 21, 2022, U.S. District Judge Charles R. Breyer of the Northern District of California announced that he plans to issue an order granting final approval to an $80 million settlement resolving driver claims in an emissions cheating class action filed by Lieff Cabraser against Volkswagen and Porsche. The lawsuit alleges the automakers manipulated nearly 500,000 gasoline-powered vehicles to overstate their advertised fuel economy and obtain fraudulent emissions certifications in an attempt to make them seem more eco-friendly than they actually were.

During Friday’s hearing, Judge Breyer overruled several objections to the settlement, including one made by class counsel arguing that car owners with undamaged vehicles (i.e., vehicles that were tested and shown to release emissions that did not deviate from fuel economy standards) should not be compensated.

In response, Lieff Cabraser partner Elizabeth Cabraser, who serves as Lead Counsel for the plaintiffs, told the court that “the reality is that the damages alleged on an individual level are difficult to measure,” and that “class counsel decided not to spend extra resources, which would have cost the class, in testing those particular vehicles thoroughly, even though they likely had emissions irregularities.”

Cabraser went on to say that the objector had “focused on a particular comment in the record about the vehicles, but took it out of context, and consumers don’t have to prove the vehicles were definitively damaged for the purpose of the settlement.” Judge Breyer agreed with her statements, overruled the objection, and allowed the settlement to proceed.

U.S. consumers will be included in the settlement if they owned or leased a gas-powered Porsche vehicle from model years 2005 to 2020. Under the deal, class members will be divided into three groups receiving payments: fuel economy, Sport+, and other class vehicles.

Payments for owners/lessees in the fuel economy group will range from $250 to $1,109 per vehicle, depending on length of possession and the vehicle’s revised fuel economy ratings. Owners/lessees in the Sport+ group will receive an automatic cash payment of $250. And, owners/lessees in the “other class vehicles” group, may receive up to $200 per vehicle, depending on how many claims are submitted.

Read the full article on the Law360 (subscription) website.

Learn more about the Porsche Emissions & Fuel Economy Complaints class action here.

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