Volkswagen Class Action Update | 07.27.2016
Update on Court Preliminary Approval of Settlement
Yesterday was a big day in the case. As expected, Judge Breyer gave preliminary approval of the proposed settlement at a court hearing in San Francisco. In doing so, he noted the support the proposed settlement has received from consumer groups, environmental groups and others. He noted it is one of the biggest if not the biggest consumer settlements in history, and also includes billions in penalties and fees for environmental remediation. It was important to Judge Breyer that vehicles will be either fixed or disabled. Any cars that VW acquires in the buyback program must have the engines disabled or the emissions corrected before VW can redistribute them either in this country or elsewhere.
What happens next is there is a period in which people can raise objections with the Court to the settlement, and at a hearing in October, the Court will consider whether to give final approval to the settlement agreement. Although it is not certain, Judge Breyer was highly complementary of the terms of the proposed settlement, and appears strongly inclined to approve it at his next hearing on the matter in the fall.
Again, this settlement applies only to the 2.0 liter diesel engines. However, a similar settlement for the much smaller number of 3.0 diesel engines (mostly in Audis and Porsches) appears to be forthcoming in the months ahead. They are still in the process of testing an emissions fix for that engine with government regulators.
Here is what you need to know about what happens next:
All Eligible VW Owners:
At this point, it is important for you to become familiar with the website especially created for the settlement: www.vwcourtsettlement.com. We recommend that you go to that site. There you can check your eligibility by inserting your VIN number and create an account that will let you begin to assess your options under the proposed settlement. There are a number of details that may apply to people’s particular situations, so instead of trying to cover all of them in precise detail here, I would like to simply refer you to the website and strongly recommend that you follow the process outlined on that site. Please let us know if you have questions. There is also a very thorough FAQ section on that website and even a call-in number (1-844-98-CLAIM) if you have questions.
If You Sold Your VW:
There are some particular rules that apply, and an earlier deadline of September 16, 2016 to submit your claim than applies for other VW owners. (Other owners have until September 1, 2018 to submit a claim). If you sold your VW 2.0 liter diesel, go to the website, check your eligibility, and follow the instructions for filing a timely claim.
All Eligible VW Owners:
You will soon receive in the mail a long form notice of all the particulars on eligibility and how to file a claim with VW. Follow the instructions in that notice closely. A copy of the form is linked here. You will register by providing your VIN number on the www.vwcourtsettlement.com website, and you will receive follow up instructions by mail about other information you will need to provide (e.g. registration, title, license etc.).
The deadline for submitting a claim is September 18, 2018. However, if you are a former owner who sold your car, you need to submit a special type of claim by September 16, 2016.
The website and the long form settlement documents also contain information and instructions about filing objections with the Court to the settlement and opting out of the settlement, which you have the right to do.
We hope this information is helpful. Again, the website is a very comprehensive source of information and the mechanism for you to link to the settlement. The settlement, again, has only received preliminary approval, but it appears that it is well on track for final approval in October.