Attorney Kenneth R. Feinberg has been tapped by Volkswagen to oversee the automaker’s claims resolution plan for owners affected by its diesel-emissions scandal. In September it was revealed that nearly 500,000 diesel VW vehicles are preloaded with a “defeat device” created to misrepresent its nitrogen oxide emissions and thereby pass U.S. emissions tests.
Mr. Feinberg, known as one of the country’s best compensation experts, has been responsible for handling similar claims programs for large corporations in the past. In 2010, Mr. Feinberg was asked to head up BPs Deepwater Horizon oil spill compensation fund, which paid out $20 billion to those impacted by the devastating spill.
More recently, Mr. Feinberg oversaw the General Motors Ignition Switch Compensation Claims Resolution Facility, which was responsible for administering approximately $595 million to victims and families involved with the automaker’s infamous ignition switch recall.
“His extensive experience in handling such complex matters will help to guide us as we move forward to make things right with our customers,” Michael Horn, CEO of Volkswagen Group of America, said in a statement about the company’s decision.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the affected vehicles are estimated to be emitting up to 40 times more nitrogen oxide than currently legalized by the U.S. VW, on the other hand, claims the cheating software was implemented as a workaround for the U.S.’s “impossible” nitrogen oxide standards. The managers believed to be responsible for the controversial decision have since been suspended by the automaker.
While VW has yet to announced its plans to repair the vehicles, Mr. Feinberg has already confirmed that his work on the VW compensation fund has already begun.
“We hope to have a claims program designed as expeditiously as possible,” he said in a statement, adding that the process would involve seeking input from VW engineers and officials, owners of the affected vehicles, attorneys, and other authorities.
VW estimates Mr. Feinberg’s remediation program to cost $7.2 billion; however, the automaker may also face expensive criminal penalties in court for its fraudulent activity.
The following vehicles are affected by the emissions defeat devices
2.0-liter diesel VW models:
- Jetta (2009-2015)
- Jetta Sportwagen (2009-2014)
- Beetle (2012-2014)
- Beetle Convertible (2012-2015)
- Audi A3 (2010-2015)
- Golf (2010-2015)
- Golf Sportwagen (2015)
- Passat (2012-2015)
3.0-liter diesel VW models:
- Touareg (2009-2016)
- Porsche Cayenne (2013-2016)
- Audi A6 Quattro (2014-2016)
- Audi A7 Quattro (2014-2016)
- Audi A8 (2014-2016)
- Audi A8L (2014-2016)
- Audi Q5 (2014-2016)
- Audi Q7 (2009-2016)
Lawyers from Beasley Allen are joining with other firms to file a nationwide class action lawsuit on behalf of Volkswagen owners. For more information or to join the class action lawsuit, contact Dee.Miles@beasleyallen.com.