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January 25, 2016

Motley Rice co-founder Joe Rice appointed to help lead VW Emissions fraud litigation

On Jan. 21, 2016, Motley Rice co-founder Joe Rice was appointed by U.S. District Judge Charles R. Breyer to the Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee for In re Volkswagen "Clean Diesel" Marketing, Sales Practices, and Products Liability Litigation, MDL No. 2672 CRB (JSC) in the U.S. District Court Northern District of California.

Rice is one of 22 plaintiffs’ lawyers appointed, from over 150 applications, to lead the multidistrict litigation involving hundreds of consumers against Volkswagen A.G. for the diesel emissions scandal alleging the company knowingly lied and deceived customers. The National Law Journal called the 22 lawyers the “class action ‘dream team.’”

“Judge Breyer has indicated that he intends to move this litigation quickly,” said Rice. “I commit to helping with this process so that our clients and all affected by this illegal Volkswagen conduct see relief very soon.”

In September 2015, news broke that Volkswagen has been programming more than 11 million vehicles worldwide, nearly 600,000 of those vehicles in the United States, to cheat on tests by emitting lower emissions levels in official tests than how they actually perform on the road. Motley Rice attorneys represent owners and lessees of the Volkswagen diesel cars in question. The litigation involves consumers from across the U.S., who allege that VW diesel cars are emitting up to 40 times the permitted CO2 emissions, including VW-manufactured Audi TDI models, the Porsche Cayenne TDI along with several VW TDI models. Volkswagen has admitted that about 11 million cars worldwide are equipped with cheating software but has yet to recall the vehicles due to the lack of a sufficient fix.

In November 2015, the EPA accused VW of violating federal emissions standards using a “defeat device” as defined by the Clean Air Act.

Motley Rice attorneys have experience in class actions involving economic loss claims, including Rice’s leadership role in the BP Deepwater Horizon litigation and serving as one of the co-lead negotiators for the BP Oil Spill Economic and Property Damages Class Action Settlement. The firm is actively involved in other vehicle defect litigation including representing several people allegedly harmed by exploding Takata airbags and Rice serving on the Plaintiffs’ Executive Committee for the General Motors LLC Ignition Switch Litigation (MDL 2543).

Read more about Volkswagen emissions fraud lawsuits, including the affected vehicles.

Read the PSC appointment order.