This past month has seen a significant development involving the Volkswagen litigation. On Feb. 16, 2017, U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer, the federal judge who has the U.S. Litigation, granted preliminary approval of a class action settlement worth at least $1.22 billion, concerning 80,000 3.0 Volkswagen cars implicated by in the automaker’s emission cheat scandal. The class action stems from the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) discovery in 2015 that Volkswagen sold diesel cars equipped with software designed to disguise nitrogen oxide emissions in violation of the Clean Air Act.
The settlement breaks the vehicles down into two “Generations.” The settlement separates the two generations by engine type, and each generation receives different consideration in the settlement. Generation One vehicle owners may select between having VW buy back their cars, or have the cars modified to become more fuel-efficient. These automobile owners will also receive cash compensation ranging $7,755 to $13,880. The reason Generation One car owners have an option of a buy back is due to VW admitting they are not able to “fix” the Generation One vehicles.
VW is unsure whether they will be able to “fix” the remaining 60,000 vehicles in the Generation Two category; therefore, VW has until fall 2017 to discover a “fix” for these vehicles. If an emissions fix is found, VW will implement it on all Generation Two vehicles, and the owners will receive cash compensation of $7,037 to $16,114. If VW does not discover a “fix” by fall 2017, owners will have the option to sell their cars back to VW.
In addition to the repairs and buybacks, part of the settlement requires VW to pay $225 million into a mitigation trust, whose purpose is funding projects that reduce NOx emissions. The final approval hearing is set for May 11, 2017. Owners who previously sold their vehicles may still be eligible for cash compensation. Below are the eligibility requirements for both Generation One and Generation Two vehicles.
If an emissions fix is found before the fall of 2017, VW will implement it on all Generation Two cars and drivers will receive a cash compensation ranging from $7,039 to $16,114. If not, and Judge Breyer finds good cause, he can grant an extension of the deadline. VW can also literally buy itself more time−under the settlement agreement, the car company can opt for an extension as long as 90 days, and will have to pay $500 per vehicle for every 30-day period. If a fix isn’t discovered, owners will have the option to sell their cars back to VW and lessees will be able to opt out of their leases. That could bring the compensation total up to $4.04 billion.
Owners who have owned an eligible vehicle on Sep. 18, 2015, or Nov. 2, 2015, and sold it before Jan. 31, 2017, may still be eligible to participate as an Eligible Former Owner; however, Owners must register by May 1, 2017 to claim benefits under the Settlements. See below for a list of models and description of those who are and are not eligible.
Generation One Vehicles:
• Volkswagen Touareg – 2009-2012
• Audi Q7 – 2009-2012
Generation Two Vehicles:
• Volkswagen Touareg – 2013-2016
• Audi Q7 – 2013-2015
• Audi A6, A7, A8, A8L, Q5 – 2014-2016
• Porsche Cayenne Diesel – 2013-2016
Owners are eligible for relief if:
• The owner currently holds title to an Eligible Vehicle in the United States or its territories or hold it by bill of sale dated before Sept. 30, 2019; or
• On Sept. 18, 2015, or on Nov. 2, 2015, owner held title to an Eligible Vehicle in the United States or its territories or held it by bill of sale dated on or before Nov. 2, 2015; or
• The owner has a lease that is or was issued by VW Credit, Inc., and is a current lessee of, or, on Sept. 18, 2015, or Nov. 2, 2015, were a lessee of, an Eligible Vehicle.
U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer also preliminarily approved a $372.5 million deal between drivers and parts manufacturer Robert Bosch GmbH for the auto parts manufacturer’s role in designing the emissions cheat software. Details of the Bosch settlement appear in the following article.
Beasley Allen lawyers Dee Miles, Archie Grubb and Clay Barnett are performing Plaintiffs Steering Committee duties on behalf of the claimants. If you have any questions, contact Clay Barnett at 800-898-2034 or by email at Clay.Barnett@beasleyallen.com.
Contact us today for a free legal consultation with an experienced attorney.
Fields marked *may be required for submission.
If you would like to subscribe to the Jere Beasley Report digital edition, simply visit our Subscriptions page and provide the necessary information or call us at 800-898-2034.
Attorney Advertising - Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.