Beasley Allen Principal Dee Miles has been appointed to the Plaintiffs Steering Committee (PSC) for the multidistrict litigation (MDL) involving the Volkswagen emissions cheat litigation. Dee, who is head of Beasley Allen’s Consumer Fraud and Commercial Litigation section, is one of 22 lawyers appointed to the PSC out of more than 150 who applied. The litigation is consolidated under U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.
Judge Breyer heard from lawyers throughout the day on Jan. 21 as they petitioned for a spot on the PSC. The selected group was dubbed the “Dream Team” by The Recorder, a legal news publication, whose reporter Ross Todd live tweeted from the courtroom throughout the selection process. Dee’s selection to the PSC is a testament to his experience in complex national litigation. Todd reported that at the hearing Judge Breyer said, “I don’t pick law firms, I pick lawyers.”
Dee has been appointed by Federal District Judges to serve in a leadership role for the Plaintiffs in numerous Multidistrict Litigations throughout the country, charged with the awesome responsibility of coordinating the litigation for the entire country on certain cases such as the Toyota sudden unintended acceleration MDL, Target Data Breach MDL, the Home Depot Data Breach MDL, the Blue Cross Blue Shield Antitrust MDL, and the Takata airbag MDL. Miles has also served as lead class counsel in several class actions such as Robertson v. Liberty National Life Insurance Company, Gadson v. American Medical Security Insurance Company and Gouche v. Transamerica Life Insurance Company; just to name a few. Dee had this to say about his selection:
It’s an honor to be selected by Judge Bryer to serve the court in a leadership role on the Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee. This VW case is one of the worst cases of fraud on the public we have ever seen in the automobile industry’s history. It is a privilege to help lead the prosecution of these claims against VW with some of this country’s most talented lawyers.
Volkswagen is the subject of several class action lawsuits after it was revealed proprietary software installed by the company disguised true nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions on more than 11 million diesel vehicles. In September, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) cited Volkswagen and its affiliates Audi AG and Volkswagen Group of America, alleging VW and Audi diesel cars from model years 2009-2015 include a “cheat device.” The device is able to detect when a vehicle is undergoing emissions testing, and adjust emissions levels to within Clean Air Act limits. However, when the car is operating during normal driving conditions, emissions were found to be as much as 40 times higher than federal limits allow.
Volkswagen has admitted to writing the cheat code into the software of nearly half a million diesel vehicles it sold in the U.S. The emissions cheat device was found to affect the 2009-2015 models of the Jetta, Beetle, Audi A3, Golf and Passat.
Judge Breyer appointed Elizabeth Cabraser with Leiff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein, based in San Francisco, Calif., to chair the PSC. The case is In re: Volkswagen “Clean Diesel” Marketing, Sales Practices, and Products Liability Litigation, case number 3:15-md-02672, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.
Sources: The Recorder, Law360 and BeasleyAllen.com
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