Sunday, November 15, 2015 -
The motion to transfer lawsuits filed against Volkswagen regarding the marketing of vehicles emissions data under false pretenses will appear before the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation on December 3 in New Orleans. The lawsuits claim that Volkswagen knowingly deceived consumers by creating programs that could distort the amount of pollutants their cars emitted, which allowed them to increase the price for the misrepresented vehicles.
The first motion to transfer Volkswagen lawsuits into multidistrict litigation was made September 23 and requested that the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation centralize the lawsuits in the Central District of California federal court before U.S. District Judge Fernando M. Olguin. At the time of the filing, there at least 20 lawsuits around the country filed against Volkswagen concerning the falsified diesel allegations.
Many in the legal world are attempting to pinpoint which district court the lawsuits will be centralized in if the likely possibility of class certification comes to fruition. To date, at least six separate cases have already been filed in the Central District of California federal court and it is one of the more likely districts to which the lawsuits will be consolidated. The motion to transfer also points out that California‘s Air Resource Board has been working closely with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency throughout the investigation of the emissions falsifications.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a report September 18 detailing the complex defeat devices employed by Volkswagen that were employed to lower the emissions data for their vehicles, boosting their value substantially under false pretenses. The findings discovered that four-cylinder Volkswagen and Audi diesel cars with model years 2009-2015 were built with technology that enabled the vehicles to cloak the Nox pollutants used by the EPA to test emissions rates. In addition to violating the Clean Air Act, the lawsuits claim that Volkswagen was also in violation of the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act and the Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act.
Early estimates have Volkswagen losing up to as much as $34 billion total as a result of the emissions falsifications. In addition to the loss of future sale and the massive recall that will have to take place in response to the findings, the government and private lawsuits that will be filed against the company will make up a large part of the expense required to be paid by the automotive manufacturer.
Close to 500,000 Volkswagen cars have been sold in the U.S. since 2008, which the recent allegations point to as the year the falsification of the records began. Though most of these do not run on diesel, the market hit on the company as a whole is expected to be large as the U.S. accounts for nearly 7 percent of the company‘s car sales. The motion to consolidate came on the same day that the Volkswagen CEO announced his resignation from the company in the wake of the emissions controversy. The New York Attorney General Eric Schneidermann also announced that his department will be opening an investigation into the matter on Wednesday.