[Sign Up Now] to Receive Our FREE Daily SCVTV-SCVNews Digest by E-Mail

SCVNews.com | Judge OK’s Car Maker’s $15 Bil. Settlement with VW, Audi Owners | 10-25-2016
Inside
Weather
Santa Clarita CA
Sunny
Sunny
62°F
 
Calendar
Today in
S.C.V. History
December 7
1921 - William S. Hart marries actress Winifred Westover [story]


2000px-Volkswagen_logo_2012_vw.svg[CN] – After a week of tense anticipation, a federal judge on Tuesday granted final approval of Volkswagen’s $15 billion settlement with VW and Audi owners regarding the automaker’s emissions cheating scandal – perhaps the largest payout of its kind in U.S. history.

U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer declined to rule on the settlement at a fairness hearing last Tuesday, telling the packed courtroom he would first weigh objections to the proposed settlement and possibly make modifications.

Most of the objections came from class members who wanted a bigger payout or who said the settlement didn’t go far enough to address the damage the emissions test-cheating software wreaked on the environment.

In a ruling issued Tuesday, Breyer made no modifications and found the settlement meets the standards for approval: the $15 billion price tag fairly and adequately compensates class members, class members have reacted to it favorably and government agencies participated in the negotiations.

Breyer also noted that the settlement will have immediate benefits for the environment.

“Given the risks of prolonged litigation, the immediate settlement of this matter is far preferable,” Breyer said in a 48-page order. “As the court stated at the outset, the priority was to get the polluting cars off the road as soon as possible. The settlement does that.”

The settlement covers certain Volkswagen and Audi “clean diesel” vehicles with 2.0-liter TDI engines. The parties are still negotiating claims related to 3.0-liter engines.

After the German automaker admitted in September 2015 that it had installed software in its TDI clean diesel cars to cheat emissions tests so that regulators would allow the cars on the road, Volkswagen drivers sued the company for fraud, breach of contract, unjust enrichment and racketeering, and violations of consumer protection laws in every state.

The cars pollute at 40 times the legal limit despite Volkswagen billing itself as a clean diesel pioneer, according to the proposed settlement.

Under the agreement, Volkswagen will pay just over $10 billion to help class members either get rid of their cars or modify them to reduce emissions.

Under settlements with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the California Air Resources Board, which are incorporated into the class action agreement, Volkswagen will also pay $2.7 billion to remediate the effects of its cars’ excess pollution on the environment and $2 billion to create a public awareness campaign on zero-emissions vehicles.

If Volkswagen fails to remove or modify 85 percent of the covered cars on the road by June 2019, it must pay additional funds into a mitigation trust.

Class counsel has agreed to seek no more than $324 million in attorneys’ fees and $8.5 million in costs, according to the ruling. At last Tuesday’s hearing, Breyer said the fees and costs will not come out of the settlement fund.

Volkswagen has also reached agreements with the Justice Department, the Federal Trade Commission and 44 state attorneys general.

“The settlement is something the company believes is good for consumers, good for the environment and good for Volkswagen to regain the trust of customers,” Volkswagen attorney Robert Giuffra told Breyer at last week’s hearing.

About 462 people had lodged objections to the settlement as of late September. Eighteen objectors spoke at the hearing, most of them telling Breyer they don’t approve of the settlement because it doesn’t pay enough to various types of class members.

Among those are owners who lost money selling their cars after the emissions scandal broke, those who want a full refund on their cars instead of the amount their car was worth the day the allegations became public, and some who objected to the trade-in amount they would receive.

However, Breyer found that their contentions didn’t deter from the fairness of the settlement.

In the case of the 89 objectors who demanded a full refund, Breyer said “the court is not persuaded by these objections.”

Breyer said these class member could only get a full refund if they never drove their cars and returned them in the same condition in which they bought them, a scenario he called “virtually inconceivable as it is highly unlikely class members never used their vehicles after purchasing them.”

He also noted that requiring Volkswagen to give class members full refunds could bankrupt the automaker.

Turning to objections that the settlement doesn’t adequately address damage to the environment, Breyer noted that the company had agreed to pay $4.7 billion to promote zero-emissions vehicles and reduce the excess emissions its cars had released into the atmosphere.

“The settlement provides cash benefits that are consistent with the recovery provided by state and federal laws and are reasonable under the circumstances,” Breyer said, adding that the money paid toward environmental remediation “address[es] the environmental damage caused by eligible vehicles.”

Giuffra addressed some of the objectors’ concerns at last week’s hearing.

“Like any settlement, this is a product of compromise, and a lot of compromise has been made,” he said. “I really think we have fixed the problem and have done so in record time.”

Most class members seem to agree. As of Sept. 29, nearly 64 percent of the class had registered for benefits under the settlement, according to Breyer’s ruling. Only about 0.7 percent opted out, and that figure is falling as class members revoke their requests for exclusion.

California Attorney General Kamala Harris expressed approval of the settlement on Tuesday.

“The deceit Volkswagen practiced in pursuit of profit is unconscionable,” Harris, who negotiated part of the settlement alongside the state air resources board, said in a statement. “This agreement holds the company accountable for violating California and federal environmental protection laws.”

Lead class counsel Elizabeth Cabraser urged class members on Tuesday to participate in the settlement, and noted that the parties are working on a comparable settlement for owners of 3.0 liter cars.

“We encourage all class members to take advantage of the significant compensation this settlement provides, which also fixes or removes these polluting cars from our roads,” Cabraser said in a statement. “Those with depreciated and polluting 3.0-liter vehicles deserve a similarly fair and speedy resolution.”

Comment On This Story
COMMENT POLICY: We welcome comments from individuals and businesses. All comments are moderated. Comments are subject to rejection if they are vulgar, combative, or in poor taste.
REAL NAMES ONLY: All posters must use their real individual or business name. This applies equally to Twitter account holders who use a nickname.

0 Comments

You can be the first one to leave a comment.

Leave a Comment


LOCAL BUSINESS LINKS
LOCAL BUSINESS HEADLINES
FINANCIALS OF LOCAL INTEREST
MARKETS & METALS
NASDAQ5393.76  chart +1.14%
S&P 5002241.35  chart +1.32%
STOCKS OF LOCAL INTEREST
Bank Of Santa Clar Com Stk Usd011.60  chart +0.00%
Biosolar Inc Com Usd0.0001(post0.0663  chart -1.04%
Sierra Bancorp23.32  chart -0.13%
Cu Bancorp (ca)30.30  chart +1.17%
Enable Ipc Corp. Com Stk Npv0.0006  chart -25.00%
Flex Ltd. - Ordinary Shares14.71  chart +0.48%
Linn Energy Llc Unit Repstg Ltd0.17  chart +0.00%
Linn Co Llc Com Shs Repstg Ltd 0.08  chart +0.00%
Mannkind Corporation0.6208  chart -3.47%
Mission Valley Ban Com Npv9.96  chart +2.15%
Quest Diagnostics Incorporated 88.71  chart +0.05%
Tejon Ranch Co Common Stock27.15  chart +0.44%
Us Energy Initiati Com Usd0.0010.00048  chart -4.00%
Wesco Aircraft Holdings, Inc. C15.15  chart -0.33%

Apple Inc.111.03  chart +0.98%
At&t Inc.40.45  chart +2.80%
Autonation, Inc. Common Stock48.37  chart +3.22%
Best Buy Co., Inc. Common Stock48.52  chart +3.39%
Big Lots, Inc. Common Stock54.49  chart +1.15%
Barnes & Noble, Inc. Common Sto12.95  chart +2.37%
Brady Corporation Common Stock38.00  chart +1.60%
Boston Scientific Corporation C20.61  chart -0.96%
N/a24  chart +0.00%
Cbre Group Inc Common Stock Cla32.49  chart +2.33%
Carnival Corporation Common Sto53.16  chart +1.10%
Comcast Corporation69.33  chart +0.92%
Costco Wholesale Corporation153.85  chart +1.88%
Curtiss-wright Corporation Comm107.06  chart +2.97%
Cvs Health Corporation Common S80.53  chart +1.40%
Cemex, S.a.b. De C.v. Sponsored8.52  chart +3.78%
D.r. Horton, Inc. Common Stock28.78  chart +2.60%
Walt Disney Company (the) Commo101.99  chart +1.32%
Edison International Common Sto69.61  chart +1.10%
Hyatt Hotels Corporation Class 56.92  chart +2.03%
Home Depot, Inc. (the) Common S132.46  chart +2.89%
Kb Home Common Stock16.55  chart +2.92%
Kroger Company (the) Common Sto33.63  chart +1.69%
Lennar Corporation Class A Comm44.67  chart +2.88%
Laboratory Corporation Of Ameri126.38  chart +1.02%
Linn Energy Llc Unit Repstg Ltd0.17  chart +0.00%
Linn Co Llc Com Shs Repstg Ltd 0.08  chart +0.00%
Lowe's Companies, Inc. Common S76.40  chart +5.44%
Marriott International83.92  chart +2.24%
Mcdonald's Corporation Common S119.92  chart +0.56%
Mitsubishi Ufj Financial Group,6.46  chart +1.57%
Netflix, Inc.125.39  chart +0.66%
Office Depot, Inc.5.05  chart +3.06%
Rite Aid Corporation Common Sto8.08  chart -0.49%
Rexford Industrial Realty, Inc.22.41  chart +1.86%
Regal Entertainment Group Class22.08  chart -0.23%
Ross Stores, Inc.68.26  chart +1.49%
Republic Services, Inc. Common 56.29  chart +1.02%
N/aN/A  chartN/A
Starbucks Corporation58.76  chart +2.30%
Smart & Final Stores, Inc. Comm13.45  chart +1.13%
Sears Holdings Corporation12.12  chart +2.89%
Six Flags Entertainment Corpora59.52  chart +1.57%
Sonova N119.20  chart -1.41%
Staples, Inc.9.95  chart +0.61%
Sunpower Corporation7.95  chart +14.22%
Target Corporation Common Stock76.97  chart +0.26%
Time Warner Cable Inc209.56  chart +0.00%
Ulta Salon, Cosmetics & Fragran253.94  chart -0.11%
Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc.84.99  chart +0.33%
Waste Connections, Inc. Common 76.59  chart -0.07%
Whole Foods Market, Inc.31.03  chart +1.74%
Waste Management, Inc. Common S69.94  chart +0.62%
Wal-mart Stores, Inc. Common St70.60  chart +1.06%
Woodward, Inc.71.10  chart +1.80%
CURRENCY CONVERTER

Latest Additions to SCVNews.com
Enjoy the smooth sound of the Senior Center Silvertones and Musicians, under the direction of John Swinford, performing your favorite and most festive holiday tunes.
Dec. 22: Silvertone Holiday Concert Comes to SCV Senior Center
A family is mourning the loss of two people who died in separate incidents in November.
Family Mourns the Loss of Father, Daughter
The California Department of Water Resources has announced its initial water allocation to deliver 20 percent of contracted supplies for the State Water Project in 2017.
CLWA Announces 20 Percent Allocation for State Water Project
Trinity Classical Academy students will be performing Christmas songs for the Atria Senior Living residents on Wednesday.
Trinity Students to Perform Christmas Songs for Seniors
Santa Clarita's Encore Chorale, a nonprofit musical arts program for seniors, invites adults 55 and older to join the Spring 2017 semester.
Seniors Invited to Join SCV Encore Chorale
One-of-a-kind gifts, like this decorative tile by artist Cathy Akers, will be on sale at CalArts’ Holiday Pop-up Market.
Dec. 15: CalArts Hosts Holiday Pop-up Market
The WiSH Education Foundation appreciates the generous contributions of our wonderful community partners who believe in the value of investing in our local public education.
WiSH Education Foundation Celebrates Local Support
The Board of Supervisors unanimously approved two measures to secure ongoing funding to combat the profound crisis of homelessness in communities across Los Angeles County.
County Approves Measures to Aid Homeless
California State University has announced the passing of former CSU Chancellor Charles B. Reed who died on Tuesday.
Former CSU Chancellor Dies at Age 75
The California Junior Chamber and The Santa Clarita Junior Chamber are delighted to announce that current State President and former Local President, Neil Fitzgerald has been elected as a National Vice President for 2017.
Former JCI Santa Clarita Local President Named National President
Public Safety and Crime Prevention Information for Newhall for the week of November 20, 2016- November 26, 2016
Crime Blotter: Vehicle Burglaries in Newhall
1921 - William S. Hart marries actress Winifred Westover [story]
Tonight on SCV NewsBreak, a father and daughter who died on the same day are remembered by loved ones. Plus, your chance to donate toys or blood is coming up. Check out these stories and more on tonight's edition of SCV NewsBreak.
SCV NewsBreak for Tuesday, December 6, 2016
The Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station will be collecting toys starting on Wednesday as part of their Annual Holiday Toy Drive.
SCV Sheriff’s Deputies Collecting Toys for Community Children
All Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department personnel are maintaining a heightened state of situational awareness and remain vigilant after uncorroborated threats were made to the LA County mass transit system.
LASD on Alert After Threats Made to Transit System
The South Coast Air Quality Management District has issued a residential no-burn alert effective Tuesday, December 6, 2016, for all those living in the South Coast Air Basin, which includes Orange County and non-desert portions of Los Angeles, Riverside and San Bernardino counties
Indoor, Outdoor Residential Wood Burning Prohibited Tuesday
Assemblyman Tom Lackey (R-Palmdale), a former 28-year veteran of the California Highway Patrol, introduced state legislation today that would authorize use of roadside drug testing devices for evaluating drivers stopped under suspicion of driving under the influence. The proposed law takes on new importance in wake of California voters approving Proposition 64 to allow marijuana for recreational use.
Lackey Bill Seeks Roadside Drug Testing Devices Following Marijuana Legalization
On Thursday, December 15, 2016, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., the city of Santa Clarita and the American Red Cross are partnering to provide a Community Blood Drive at the central location of City Hall. Residents will have the opportunity to donate blood at City Hall in the Century Room, located at 23920 Valencia Boulevard.
Dec. 15: City to Host Community Blood Drive
The Santa Clarita Ballet Academy is planning to send another dancer to compete at the Royal Academy of Dance Genée International Competition for the second year in a row.
Santa Clarita Dancer Heads to International Compeititon
A Saugus High School teacher is reaching out to the community to give her classroom a modern update.
Saugus High Teacher Looks to Community for Modernization Help
The Domestic Violence Center of Santa Clarita Valley is hosting a teen PSA contest as part of National Teen Violence Dating Awareness Month.
DVC Hosts Teen Violence Dating Awareness PSA Contest
The Santa Clarita Public Libraries are providing families with plenty of occasions to embrace the spirit of the holidays through the month of December.
Santa Clarita Libraries Host Family-friendly Holiday Events
Public Safety and Crime Prevention Information for Valencia Zone 5 for the week of 11/21/2016- 11/27/2016.
Crime Blotter: Thefts, Vehicle Burglaries in Valencia
Crime Information and Public Safety Report for Saugus (Zone 4) for the week of November 21, 2016 through November 27, 2016.
Crime Blotter: Burglaries in Saugus
Maybe a new tradition to consider is a visit with Santa at the Valencia Town Center Mall adjacent to Sisley Restaurant. Santa’s house is available now through December 23.
Dec. 16: City Staff Hands Out Reusable Bags to Santa Visitors at Valencia Town Center
1864 - Actor William S. Hart born in Newburgh, New York [Hart Index]
Tonight on SCV NewsBreak, Kathryn Barger was sworn in as L.A. County Supervisor for the Fifth District. Plus, the audience at COC's PAC was dazzled by an electrifying performance on Sunday. Check out these stories and more on tonight's edition of SCV NewsBreak.
SCV NewsBreak for Monday, December 5, 2016
A construction worker who fell off a four-foot wall at Six Flags Magic Mountain around 4:30 p.m. Monday sustained minor injuries after colliding with a short stake, officials said.
Construction Worker OK After Falling onto Stake
District Attorney Jackie Lacey announced today that she plans to focus more attention on protecting children from abuse and neglect and addressing the growing opioid abuse epidemic. She also said she plans to mandate elimination of bias training for all prosecutors.
DA Jackie Lacey Announces Goals at Oath of Office Ceremony
The California Department of Transportation will close portions of the I-5 between the SR-170 and the Kern County line as part of a sign replacement project.
Dec. 5-9: Caltrans Lane Closures on I-5
The Wings for Life World Run has announced its return to the city of Santa Clarita for the fourth consecutive year, as participants everywhere unite to find a cure for spinal cord injury.
Wings for Life World Run Set to Return to Santa Clarita on May 7, 2017
See what's coming from the Santa Clarita Valley Chamber of Commerce.
Upcoming SCV Chamber of Commerce Events
TV shows, commercials and a student project are currently being filmed in Santa Clarita this week.
Currently Filming in SCV: Germany’s Next Top Model, Fan Slam, Magic Camp
Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department has been awarded a $1,945,000.00 grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) for a year-long program of special enforcements and public awareness efforts to prevent traffic related deaths and injuries.
LASD Receives Grant for Special Traffic Enforcement, Crash Prevention
University of Antelope Valley Men’s (2-5, 1-0 Cal Pac) and Women’s Basketball (5-2, 1-0 Cal Pac) successfully opened up Cal Pac Conference play at La Sierra University in Riverside, CA with two huge wins in two high scoring match-ups.
UAV Basketball Dominates in Cal Pac Opener
Jean Dobre and Wendy Yamada will have the Grand Opening of their new Arthur Murray Valencia Dance Studio, Friday Dec. 9 and Saturday, Dec. 10 at 24165 Magic Mountain Parkway.
Dec. 9-10: Arthur Murray Valencia Dance Studio to Host Grand Opening