U.S. District Judge Charles R. Breyer, the California federal judge presiding over the multidistrict litigation accusing Volkswagen of outfitting certain cars with software designed to cheat emissions standards, has given the automaker another month to come up with a plan to fix 600,000 of the clean diesel vehicles. At a status hearing on March 24 in San Francisco. Judge Breyer gave the parties until April 21 to present a “concrete proposal for getting the polluting vehicles off the road.” Judge Breyer said:
This proposal may include a vehicle buy-back plan or a fix approved by the relevant regulators that allows the cars to remain on the road with certain modifications or both or even other remedies. But whatever the proposal, by April 21st, it must be specific and detailed as to proposed timing, what cars are involved in each proposal, payments to consumers and the like.
Judge Breyer is overseeing the huge MDL in California federal court over the company’s alleged cheating on emissions standards. The cases include the U.S. Department of Justice’s lawsuit against Volkswagen for Clean Air Act violations. Volkswagen has since admitted fault and revealed that the software came preloaded in millions of its diesel vehicles around the world, but has blamed a handful of managers for the decision. Two CEOs at Volkswagen have resigned in the wake of the scandal.
About 500 Volkswagen drivers filed the first consolidated complaint in the MDL, contending the fraud is taking a financial, environmental and human toll. The consolidated complaint also names Volkswagen AG subsidiary Porsche AG as a defendant.
Regulators around the world have ordered recalls covering about 8.5 million vehicles in Europe, 482,000 in the U.S. and 324,000 in India. While Volkswagen has developed a fix for European vehicles, the company said it has yet to find a solution that will comply with EPA regulations, Elizabeth J. Cabraser the lead counsel for the plaintiffs, reported that the parties are working hard to come up with a plan.
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