Local attorney reacts to class action lawsuits piling on Volkswagen
It was inevitable but now its happening: attorneys everywhere are filing class action lawsuits against Volkswagen amid a cheating scandal that affects millions.
Volkswagen this week admitted to using special software to get its cars to pass U.S. emissions tests. Some drivers said they would not have bought those vehicles if they knew they were not environmentally friendly.
Several law firms are filing class action suits alleging VW was deceptive and fraudulent. One Canadian law firm has filed a suit seeking $1 billion in damages and $100 million in punitive damages..
"They paid a certain amount for the vehicle and did not get what's called the benefit of the bargain based on fraud. They're being mislead," said Chattanooga attorney C. Mark Warren.
Mark Warren said this is an easy class action lawsuit for attorneys to pursue because the drivers of the affected cars will be easy to find. In fact, he said, Volkswagen will eventually have to surrender the 11 million names and addresses of customers who drive their diesel cars. Then attorneys will follow-up with phone calls and letters.
"Basically all they have to do is check a box and they're going to join in the settlement," he said. 'Then ch-ching, they're a part of the class."
One class action lawsuit filed in Chicago alleges fraud, deception and misrepresentation. Another argues the scandal has hurt the value of these cars. Warren said the attorney representing the class will just have to provide expert testimony about the diminished value claim.
"They paid a certain amount for the vehicle and did not get what's called the benefit of the bargain based on fraud. They're being mislead," Warren said.
Warren said a federal judge will be assigned to the class and that cases filed in Tennessee will likely be filed in Greeneville, not Chattanooga.
"Chattanooga is not the place where you'd want to file a class action against Volkswagen," he said. "There's just too many connections with the community and you want to get a fair and impartial jury on this and Volkswagen is part of our fabric."
Usually class action lawsuits end with a universal settlement. But Warren said getting to that point might take 4-5 years.