Volkswagen has urged the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to uphold its $14.7 billion settlement with drivers of its 2.0-liter diesel vehicles and the government over the automaker’s emissions cheating scandal. Volkswagen says that the settlement has garnered broad support from both consumers and federal regulators. A small group of drivers is challenging the settlement – to which U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer granted final approval in October – on grounds that the settlement allows consumers to keep driving their cars in violation of Virginia law.
Volkswagen said that despite appellant Ronald Fleshman’s contention, both the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the California Air Resource Board (CARB) have stated that the diesel vehicles are legal to drive and a Virginia court has already rejected his argument as “pure speculation.” Volkswagen says the Virginia law in question bars consumers from tampering with a car’s pollution control system and doesn’t affect the manufacturer’s conduct at issue in the litigation and settlement.
The settlement requires Volkswagen to set aside up to $10 billion to buy back consumers’ cars. Thus far, the company says it has already paid out about $6.3 billion to consumers. Moreover, the settlement agreement compensates drivers for the value of their cars before Volkswagen admitted to using defeat devices to cheat emissions standards in the fall of 2015. Many consumers receive compensation for more than the pre-September 2015 value of their car, according to Volkswagen. Since the court approved the settlement over eight months ago, the automaker said more than 300,000 class members have benefited from the settlement in the form of vehicle buybacks, emissions fixes and restitution payments.
Out of a class of about 490,000, only 462 members objected to the settlement and around 3,300 people – fewer than one percent of eligible class members – opted to be excluded from the class.
Two regulators, the EPA and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), were also involved in the settlement negotiations and Volkswagen says they made sure that the consumer settlements, and related deals with the federal government, were in the public interest. When Judge Breyer gave final approval to the $10 billion settlement in October, he also signed off on consent decree with the U.S. Department of Justice and a consent order with the FTC requiring Volkswagen to invest an additional $4.7 billion to fully address the environmental harm resulting from Volkswagen’s conduct.
The case is Hill v. Volkswagen AG, (case number 16-16731) in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.
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.