The Competitive Enterprise Institute’s Center for Class Action Fairness filed an amicus brief before the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California regarding class action litigation following Volkswagen's emissions scandal that erupted in September 2015. Volkswagen admitted to selling consumers “clean diesel” vehicles after knowingly equipping the vehicles with devices that would dupe emissions tests; retrofitting the vehicles to meet regulatory standards would likely adversely affect performance and value.
The brief recommends the court select lead plaintiffs’ counsel through a competitive bidding process among the dozens of attorneys expected to apply. Selecting lead counsel through a competitive bidding process would fulfill the court’s fiduciary duty to protect absent class members’ rights by ensuring fair and reasonable attorneys’ fees are awarded. A competitive bidding process would also serve the interests of the class by ensuring a “market rate” for attorneys’ fees to be deducted from the class recovery and short-circuiting the potential for collusion among plaintiffs attorneys.