Hundreds of Volkswagen Suits Will Be Heard in California

9 Dec 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Hundreds of Volkswagen Suits Will Be Heard in California.

New Orleans • A judicial panel on Tuesday decided to consolidate hundreds of lawsuits against Volkswagen over its emissions cheating scandal in California, a focal point of the carmaker’s troubles. The lawsuits are being centralized as part of a process called multidistrict litigation, which consolidates suits from across the country to help avoid repetition and make the process more efficient. It noted that relevant documents and witnesses might be found in California, given the role played by the state’s Air Resources Board in uncovering Volkswagen’s actions. Instead, the panel said it makes more sense to turn California into the center of the legal wrangling, in part because there are so many VW owners and dealers there.

More than 490 lawsuits have been filed, most as potential class actions, since the Environmental Protection Agency disclosed in September that Volkswagen installed software in seemingly environmentally friendly diesel vehicles that cheated emissions tests. VW has admitted that 482,000 2-liter diesel vehicles in the U.S. contained software that turned pollution controls on during government tests and off during real-world driving. Acting on a tip from West Virginia researchers, air board scientists discovered that Volkswagen diesel cars were equipped with “defeat device” software that activated emissions-controls systems only when cars were undergoing pollution testing. A several-judge panel that oversees the multidistrict litigation process issued Tuesday’s order less than a week after hearing arguments in New Orleans on where the cases should be sent.

The judicial panel’s job is to determine whether lawsuits in different federal districts should be amassed under one court to prevent duplication and inconsistent rulings and to make it easier for lawyers.

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