Northern District of California
In one of the largest-scale auto industry scandals in history, G&E is a member of the Court-appointed Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee overseeing and prosecuting this litigation on behalf of vehicle owners affected by German auto giant Volkswagen’s admitted installation of “defeat devices” in the software of its diesel engine vehicles to cheat on emissions tests in up to 11,000,000 Passats, Jettas, Golfs, Beetles, and Audi A3s. The cheat was allegedly developed after VW managers realized their costly “clean diesel” engines weren’t up to par with pollution standards of the Environmental Protection Agency and regulators in other countries. Plaintiffs claim that VW executives knew about the diesel engine problem as early as spring 2014 – a full eighteen months before the public was made aware of the issue – and seek economic redress from the steep diminution in value and performance of their affected vehicles. To date, the 2.0 liter vehicle class action case was settled for $14.7 billion, with Volkswagen agreeing to pay $10 billion buying back or repairing the 475,000 VW and Audi automobiles 2.0 liter diesel vehicles. In addition, and as part of that settlement, those vehicle owners will be given additional compensation of between $5,100 and $10,000 and an average of $3,500 will be given to those who leased an affected VW diesel vehicle. The 2.0 liter settlement also includes $2.7 billion for environmental modification, as well as $2 billion geared toward Volkswagen’s “zero-emissions” plan. That settlement has obtained final approval. Volkswagen has also reached agreement to settle diesel-cheating claims concerning its 3.0 vehicles for $1 billion and Bosch has agreed to settle related claims for $338 million. Each of those settlements has been approved by the Court.