Conservative group says settlement shortchanges consumers

E&E News reports on CEI's Center for Class Action Fairness's objection to the proposed class-action settlement over the Volkswagen emissions scandal.

In a formal objection filed in court late Friday, the right-leaning organization took issue with attorneys' handling of the settlement, saying the deal reached would impose costs on class members "with zero marginal benefits."

"Consumers are being unfairly shortchanged from what they could have received," the Competitive Enterprise Institute's Center for Class Action Fairness said in the filing in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.

CEI claimed in its objection that attorneys for the consumers wrongly told class litigants that they couldn't obtain relief through the settlement if they opt out of it. The same benefits, according to CEI, are available to consumers through settlements with the Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission.

"That's simply not true," CEI's court document says. "The DOJ requires the buyback program regardless of whether the settlement is ever approved."

The group is also objecting to what it calls "misleading" information about the payment of up to $332.5 million in attorneys' fees. A competitive bidding process could have reduced fees for class members by more than 90 percent, CEI says.

"Dozens of law firms colluded instead of competed," said Ted Frank, director of the Center for Class Action Fairness, "and will now seek thousands of dollars an hour for providing class members what Volkswagen and the government would have provided anyway, perhaps even sooner than the class-action process would have."

Read the full article at E&E News