Volkswagen hires Kenneth Feinberg to handle diesel cases

23 Dec 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

VW Hires Kenneth Feinberg To Handle Emission-Cheating Claims.

DETROIT (AP) – Volkswagen has hired compensation expert Kenneth Feinberg to handle financial claims from people whose cars are involved in an emissions cheating scandal. Volkswagen AG’s U.S. unit hired attorney Ken Feinberg to design and administer an independent resolution program over claims related to diesel vehicles rigged to cheat emissions tests. Volkswagen has admitted to installing software on about 500,000 U.S. vehicles that turned on pollution controls during government tests then shut them off when the cars returned to real roads. Feinberg, who handled the General Motors Co. ignition-switch settlement fund, “will help to guide us as we move forward to make things right with our customers,’’ Michael Horn, chief executive officer of Volkswagen Group of America, said in an e-mailed statement Thursday.

Feinberg is also known for administering a compensation fund for victims of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks and BP BP -1.47 % PLC’s Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Most recently, he has been working for General Motors, administering the victim compensation program tied to the company’s deadly ignition defect, which has now been linked to at least 124 deaths and at least 275 injuries. In exchange for accepting compensation offers from G.M.’s program, victims of these car accidents and their families forfeited their right to sue the company. Feinberg will craft a program for the owners of nearly 500,000 cars with two-liter diesel engines and another roughly 85,000 vehicles with three-liter diesel engines that regulators in the U.S. found contained illegal software able to dupe government emissions tests.

Volkswagen and Audi officials were scheduled to meet with U.S. environmental regulators on Wednesday and Thursday, respectively, this week to discuss possible fixes for the vehicles, said a person familiar with the matter. Feinberg said he would begin work immediately designing an “independent claims process,” and that his team would need the input of not only Volkswagen but also vehicle owners, their lawyers and others affected by the case. Feinberg’s firm who will also work on the program, said it “will take a while to get it up and running.” She declined to provide a specific time frame for unveiling the program.

The consumer lawsuits were set off by the EPA’s Sept. 18 announcement that Volkswagen used deceptive software to make some vehicles with diesel engines appear as if they met emissions standards. Within hours of the EPA announcement, lawyers began filing suits as class actions on behalf of all U.S. vehicle owners alleging violations of state consumer laws.

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