Federal judge approves $14.7 billion settlement in Volkswagen emissions class actions

Legal Newsline discusses Center for Class Action Fairness's reaction to the Volkswagen class action settlement ruling. 

The Competitive Enterprise Institute’s Center for Class Action Fairness called it “disappointing.”

The Washington, D.C.-based public-interest law firm, which represents class members against unfair class action procedures and settlements, argues the agreement provides zero marginal benefit for the class.

“This $10 billion settlement is a bad deal for consumers — the actual value to consumers will be far less than that and would have been available to consumers even without this class action settlement,” said CEI attorney Anna St. John, who argued against the settlement approval before the court in San Francisco last week. “What’s worse is how inadequately the plaintiffs’ attorneys represented their clients in this case.

“Class counsel violated their fiduciary duty by misinforming and ultimately duping 475,000 class members into a settlement that will potentially pay their attorneys hundreds of millions of dollars for providing them next to nothing. These dollars should be going to the class, but instead, the lawyers' decision to structure the settlement with self-dealing gimmicks may have cost Volkswagen owners more than a billion dollars.”

St. John put down Breyer’s adoption of class counsel’s claim that the attorneys’ fees will not diminish the benefits award to class members under the settlement.

“Volkswagen is an economic actor with rational expectations, and the expected excessive attorney-fee request was baked into its reservation price and adversely affected what consumers received,” she said.

Read the full article at Legal NewsLine.