VW civil suits won’t be heard in Detroit

9 Dec 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Hundreds of Volkswagen Suits Will Be Heard in California.

Hundreds of civil lawsuits against Volkswagen over its use of deceptive software to evade emissions tests will be heard by a federal judge in California, despite a push from the automaker and the federal government to send the cases to Detroit. That is where hundreds of U.S. lawsuits the German auto maker faces over its emissions scandal will be sent, a federal panel ruled Tuesday, after weighing arguments in favor of nearly 30 cities across the country. The selection of Breyer, who has extensive experience in such cases, along with Volkswagen’s admissions of fault, mean the litigation is headed toward “a quicker settlement,” said Erik Gordon, a University of Michigan law professor. “Judge Breyer will move the case forward and will not tolerate stalling tactics, discovery delays, or plaintiffs attorneys plotting their own fees instead of a resolution of the case,” Gordon said. “It’s not his first trip to the circus.” The lawsuits were set off by the U.S. 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. Within hours of the EPA announcement, lawyers began filing suits as class actions on behalf of all U.S. vehicle owners alleging violations of state consumer laws.

In a statement, Volkswagen said, “We have received the order of the United States Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation, and we will vigorously defend the company in these cases.” The automaker has already admitted using the deceptive software. Following reports of additional questionable emissions software in about 85,000 VW, Audi and Porsche cars with 3.0-liter diesel engines in the U.S., additional suits were filed for consumers owning those vehicles. 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. 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.

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