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Volkswagen Diesel Scandal To Find Solution in Court

Posted on Thursday, April 21st, 2016   

German automaker Volkswagen recently missed a deadline to appear in U.S. District court, but they were granted an extension until today, April 21, by U.S. District Court Judge Charles Breyer in San Francisco. This scheduled court date was meant for Volkswagen to present their plan to make VW cars involved in the company’s current emissions scandal compliant with environmental standards. However, if the company is unable to reach an agreement with the U.S. government, VW dealers, and their customers, a trial may take place to determine what Volkswagen owes to consumers and what changes they will need to make.

Finding an affordable option for the company has proved harrowing, as a satisfactory solution goes far beyond fixing the misleading software. Even if the software is updated and brought into compliance with environmental standards, the cars would no longer drive as well, and the ratings promised to buyers would be compromised. Refitting each car in the United States with proper parts and new computer systems is too costly, so a judge at the last hearing recommended that the company simply buy back the cars.

Buying back the cars would hurt Volkswagen financially, an area in which the company is already suffering. Tony German, a New York resident who drives an affected A3 model Audi, would gladly sell his car back to Volkswagen for the right price. His car’s resale value was damaged by the scandal, and buying a new car is an inconvenience. If Volkswagen can pay buyers for the original cost, and maybe an additional sum for the inconvenience, German and many others will likely gladly give up these vehicles.


Volkswagen hires Kenneth R. Feinberg to Develop Compensation Program for Emission Scandal Victims

Posted on Friday, December 18th, 2015   

Months after Volkswagen admitted to equipping certain diesel vehicles with software designed to cheat emissions tests, the company has hired Kenneth R. Feinberg to address claims related to the scandal and create a compensation plan for victims.  Feinberg is a leading specialist in compensation funds, his most notable work including payouts to victims of 9/11, the BP oil spill, and most recently, those who were affected by the faulty ignition switches in General Motors’ vehicles.

Volkswagen came under fire after the company admitted to installing illegal devices in certain diesel vehicles in order to get lower results on emissions tests, leading many VW owners to take legal action against the automaker, claiming that their vehicles were devalued because of the scandal.

While details of the compensation program have yet to be finalized, VW hopes this move will limit the number of lawsuits filed against them.  Feinberg and his team’s first step in developing this program will be to outline parameters for eligibility and what proof vehicle owners will be required to provide.  Feinberg plans to receive input from the company as well as vehicle owners to fully develop the plan, including the amount of compensation that affected VW owners could get.

Feinberg also explained that the compensation program will not interfere with any state and federal investigations of the company’s actions regarding the scandal.  He expects that the program will take about 60 to 90 days to develop.

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