Consumer Law

Dozens of VW lawsuits will almost surely be consolidated, but where?

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Updated: After news of a U.S. recall over claimed rigging of a half-million Volkswagen diesel-powered vehicles to trick emissions tests came news of a federal criminal probe, the resignation of the company’s CEO and the filing of dozens of civil lawsuits around the country.

Among the latest is a federal lawsuit in Dallas by real estate agent Amie Parsons, the Dallas Morning News reports.

She and plaintiffs elsewhere “now have a car they can’t sell,” her lawyer, Charles “Trey” Branham, tells the newspaper. “If they went to trade it in, they have much less value and that’s real harm to folks who are middle-class and can’t afford to take a huge hit on their car. And she drives customers around every day, and that’s a problem. So it is something that affects real people on a daily basis, and it is a problem for them, not to mention the problem of putting 40 times the legal limit of pollution into the air.”

An overview of the civil litigation is provided by the Wall Street Journal (sub. req.), which spoke with other prominent plaintiffs lawyers, including Chicago’s Robert Clifford. A judicial panel is likely to consolidate most or all of the suits in a single multidistrict litigation matter, but it isn’t yet clear where that will be, the newspaper notes.

“No doubt about it, there will be an MDL here,” said Clifford, who has held a number of leadership roles in the American Bar Association and has filed a federal suit against Volkswagen in Illinois. “This case will allow the full creative juices of the plaintiffs’ bar to be on full display.”

Related coverage:

New York Times (reg. req.): “How Many Deaths Did Volkswagen’s Deception Cause in the U.S.?”

Wall Street Journal (sub. req): “Volkswagen Has Refit Plan For Emissions-Rigged Vehicles, Says CEO” “County sues Volkswagen for $100M, seeks civil penalties for violation of emissions laws”

Updated on Sept. 30 to link to subsequent post about county lawsuit against VW.

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