Volkswagen Emissions Fraud Lawsuits
Motley Rice vehicle defect attorneys represent hundreds of owners and lessees of Volkswagen diesel cars with emission systems designed to deceive regulators and defraud consumers.
Motley Rice co-founder Joe Rice was appointed by the Court to the Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee (PSC) and has played a leading role on the PSC’s negotiating and financial committees responsible for the $14.7 billion “Clean Diesel” settlement for owners of 2.0-liter TDI vehicles, the largest auto-related consumer class action in U.S. history, and the $1.2 to $4.4 billion settlement for owners and lessees of 3.0-liter Audi, Porsche, and Volkswagen TDI vehicles. Joining him in the negotiations were Motley Rice attorneys Ann Ritter and Andrew Arnold.
- Claims for 2.0-liter diesel vehicles must be filed by Sept. 1, 2018.
- Claims for the 3.0-liter settlement – Generation 1 vehicles – are due June 1, 2019.
- Claims for the 3.0-liter settlement – Generation 2 vehicles – are due Dec. 31, 2019.
- People who opted out of the 2.0-liter or 3.0-liter settlement with Volkswagen may file a claim with Bosch by Dec. 31, 2019.
Affected Diesel Models Include:
- Audi A3 TDI (2010-2015)
- Audi A6 Quattro TDI (2014-2016)
- Audi A7 Quattro TDI (2014-2016)
- Audi A8 TDI (2014-2016)
- Audi A8L TDI (2014-2016)
- Audi Q5 TDI (2014-2016)
- Audi Q7 TDI (2009-2016)
- Porsche Cayenne Diesel (2013-2016)
- VW Beetle TDI (2012-2015)
- VW Beetle Convertible TDI (2012-2015)
- VW Golf TDI (2010-2015)
- VW Golf Sportwagen TDI (2015)
- VW Jetta TDI (2009-2015)
- VW Jetta SportWagen TDI (2009-2014)
- VW Passat TDI (2012-2015)
- VW Touareg TDI (2009-2016)
Vehicle Defect Attorneys
Motley Rice attorneys have experience in vehicle defect cases and have held leadership roles in similar litigation, including most recently with General Motors’ ignition switch defects and recalls and Takata’s exploding airbags.
Motley Rice attorneys also represent people impacted by a separate excess carbon dioxide emissions issue affecting certain 2010-2016, gasoline-powered 3.0-liter Audi vehicles. Learn more about these cases.
2.0-Liter Settlement Terms
On Oct. 25, 2016, U.S. District Court Judge Charles R. Breyer of the Northern District of California approved the nearly $15 billion 2.0-liter settlement deal to compensate consumers and mitigate the impact Volkswagen’s actions had on the environment. Roughly $10 billion will be paid to consumers to buy back and repair around 482,000 affected Volkswagen and Audi 2.0-liter TDI vehicles that were owned or leased as of Sept. 18, 2015. An additional $4.7 billion will mitigate the environmental impact of the excess emissions, including $2.7 billion to be paid into a trust to support environmental programs across the country that will reduce NOx in the atmosphere by an amount equal to or greater than the combined excess NOx pollution caused by the affected vehicles. The remaining $2 billion will be used to develop additional, new, clean technology.
The settlement agreement allows eligible owners, eligible sellers and eligible lessees the option of a buyback, having their car modified to reduce emissions. Claims for 2.0-liter diesel vehicles must be filed by Sept. 1, 2018. For more information, including the full settlement program filing, visit www.vwcourtsettlement.com.
2.0-Liter Emissions Modifications
On Jan. 6, 2017, the California Air Resources Board and the Environmental Protection Agency approved an emissions modification for roughly 70,000 “Generation 3” 2.0-liter Volkswagen and Audi vehicles released in model year 2015. The vehicles, which previously emitted NOx up to 40 times the standard level, are now able to be installed with a second NOx sensor and a new or replacement diesel oxidation catalyst that is said to reduce NOx emissions by 80 to 90 percent.
On July 27, 2017, the EPA and CARB announced their approval of VW’s proposed modification for 326,000 2.0-liter diesel engines. According to VW, the announcement means that an approved modification is now available for more than 98 percent of eligible 2.0-liter TDI vehicles in the U.S.
The below shows which steps to take for the buyback option and the emissions modification option:
On May 17, 2017, Judge Breyer approved a $1.2 billion settlement (that could potentially increase up to $4.4 billion) to resolve claims filed by current and former owners and lessees of 3.0-liter Audi, Porsche, and Volkswagen TDI, or “Clean Diesel,” vehicles. For more information and a break out of the terms, read Motley Rice co-founder Joe Rice’s blog about the terms.
The 3.0-liter settlement has different phases and options, depending on various criteria, including whether a consumer had a “Generation 1” or “Generation 2” vehicle. “Generation 1” vehicles are immediately eligible for buybacks, trade-ins or an emissions modifications. “Generation 2” vehicles, however, can be fully repaired to meet the emissions standards to which the vehicles were originally certified. EPA and CARB approved repairs for all “Generation 2” SUVs on October 20, 2017, and all “Generation 2” cars on December 18, 2017.
German company Robert Bosch GmbH supplied the emissions software that was installed in some 2.0-liter and 3.0-liter Volkswagen, Audi and Porsche diesel vehicles. On May 17, 2017, Judge Breyer also approved was a $327.5 million settlement with Bosch. Bosch settlement payments will automatically be sent to owners and lessees who participate in the 2.0-liter or 3.0-liter settlement with Volkswagen once their claims are fully processed, unless they explicitly opted-out of the Bosch settlement.
VW “Dieselgate” Timeline
On Sept. 18, 2015, news broke that German automaker Volkswagen has been programming more than 11 million vehicles worldwide, nearly 500,000 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. In its Notice of Violation to Volkswagen, the EPA stated that, "VW admit[ted] it had designed and installed a defeat device in these vehicles in the form of a sophisticated software algorithm that detected when a vehicle was undergoing emissions testing."
Michael Horn, CEO of Volkswagen Group of America admitted on Sept. 21, 2015 that, "our company was dishonest with the Environmental Protection Agency [EPA] and the California Air Resources Board, and with all of you. And in my German words, we've totally screwed up." He later testified on Oct. 8, 2015 before a House of Representatives subcommittee regarding the diesel emissions scandal. To date, 10 senior managers and four top engineers at Volkswagen have been suspended and an internal inquiry launched.
On Sept. 23, 2015, Volkswagen CEO Dr. Martin Winterkorn took responsibility for the defeat devices called out by the EPA for cheating vehicle emission tests and resigned. In his official statement posted on the VW website, Dr. Winterkorn stated, "Above all, I am stunned that misconduct on such a scale was possible in the Volkswagen Group." Following Winterkorn’s resignation, Matthias Mueller was later appointed as VW’s CEO.
EPA Announces Additional Violations
On Nov. 2, 2015, the EPA announced additional charges against Volkswagen for violating the Clean Air Act. The EPA accused VW of using software to cheat emissions tests in about 10,000 additional cars, including 3.0-liter diesel engines in various VW, Audi and Porsche models.
Volkswagen “Clean Diesel” (Emissions Defeat Device) Multidistrict Litigation
On Dec. 8, 2015, the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict litigation said the more than 500 civil lawsuits filed to date against Volkswagen AG will be heard by U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer in the Northern District of California in San Francisco.
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.
Fines and Criminal Investigation
On Jan. 11, 2017, Volkswagen AG plead guilty to federal conspiracy and other charges in violation of the Clean Air Act and agreed to pay $4.3 billion in penalties. Several of the automakers top executives, too, face criminal charges in an ongoing investigation. Read the Department of Justice’s announcement.
Under the Clean Air Act, Volkswagen could have been fined as much as $37,500 for each vehicle in question, a possible total penalty of $18 billion. Additionally, VW now faces a criminal investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice just as General Motors did for faulty ignition switches. Read the EPA’s statement on the Clean Air Act Violations.
USA Today (May 11, 2017) — Volkswagen emissions settlement approved: $1.2B in buybacks, repairs, cash
Reuters (April 21, 2017) — U.S. judge sentences Volkswagen to three years probation, oversight
Bloomberg (February, 23, 2017) — VW Executive Pleads Not Guilty as 5 Avoid U.S. Diesel Case
Reuters (January 12, 2017) — TIMELINE-Volkswagen's long road to a U.S. Dieselgate settlement
Green Car Reports (January 7, 2017) — Emission updates for 2015 VW, Audi 2.0-liter TDI diesels OKed by regulators
CBS News (January 6, 2017) — U.S. approves fix for some Volkswagen diesels
Reuters (December 23, 2016) — Volkswagen reaches deal with 80,000 U.S. 3.0-liter vehicle owners
The Detroit News (October 25, 2016) — Judge OKs $14.7B VW emission settlement
USA Today (October 18, 2016) — Judge 'inclined' to approve Volkswagen settlement
Law360 (October 5, 2016) — The VW Emissions Scandal A Year Later
Bloomberg (August 18, 2016) — Porsche Drivers Fume: Where’s Our VW Diesel Payout?
Business Insider (August 15, 2016) — Volkswagen may face criminal and civil penalties over emissions scandal
New York Times (July 15, 2016) — Behind Volkswagen Settlement, Speed and Compromise
Bloomberg (July 13, 2016) — VW Faces Setback as California Rejects 3-Liter Car Recall Plan
Law360 (July 8, 2016) — The Judge Who Hit The Gas On Volkswagen’s ‘Dieselgate’ Deal
New York Times (June 28, 2016) — VW Settles Diesel Emissions Case in U.S., Clearing Just One Hurdle for Its Finances
S.C. Lawyers Weekly (July 5, 2016) — SC attorney plays key role in $14.7B Volkswagen settlement
New York Times (May 3, 2016) - Former top Porsche developer, suspended in VW scandal, quits for good
Business Wire (April 21, 2016) – Agreement in principle reached in Volkswagen “Clean Diesel” (Emissions Defeat Device) MDL NO. 2672
International Business Times (April 17, 2016) – Volkswagen emissions scandal update: deadline looms for ‘dieselgate’ fix
The Associated Press (March 15, 2016) – Ex-worker says Volkswagen destroyed documents, obstructed justice
Reuters (March 6, 2016) – VW chairman, CEO knew of illicit software early, Bild reports
Reuters (Jan. 12, 2016) - California board rejects Volkswagen’s diesel fix plan
The Daily Progress (Oct. 8, 2015) – Local woman files lawsuit against Volkswagen
The Wall Street Journal (Oct. 2, 2015) – Bosch Could Get Drawn Into Volkswagen Emissions Litigation
Bloomberg (Oct. 1, 2015) – VW Claims Mount as Lawyers Vie for Leading Role, Friendly Court
Charleston Regional Business Journal (Sept. 30, 2015) – Lowcountry law firm files class-action suits against Volkswagen
New York Times (Sept. 22, 2015) – Volkswagen Debacle on Financial Par with BP Oil Spill
The Atlantic (Sept. 22, 2015) – Clean Diesel No More: Volkswagen Scandal Grows
New York Times (Sept. 22, 2015) - Volkswagen Says 11 Million Cars Worldwide Are Affected in Diesel Deception
Washington Post – (Sept. 22-2015) VW emissions cheating affects 11 million cars worldwide
International Business Times – (Sept. 22, 2015) – Volkswagen Diesel Recall Update: Full List Of Cars Affected, How To Get A Refund
CNN – (Sept. 22, 2015) – Volkswagen Scandal Widens
USA Today (Sept. 21, 2015) – Volkswagen plays dirty with ‘clean diesel’: Our view