(From Bloomberg Business 10/01/2015).
As claims against Volkswagen AG for selling “clean diesel” cars that cheated their way past emissions tests pile up across the U.S., the key question for lawyers is which court will wind up hearing them. More than 190 lawsuits — with claims for billions of dollars — have been filed as class actions in federal courts in at least 37 U.S. states with more certain to come. Seven jurisdictions have been proposed already: two in California, as well as courts in New Jersey, Virginia, Texas, Michigan and Ohio. A panel of judges in New Orleans will decide after a Dec. 3 hearing, weighing the jurisdictions by their judges’ skills and experience with complex litigation, as well as their convenience for lawyers and witnesses.
Some attorneys are demanding the automaker buy back the 482,000 vehicles sold in the U.S. with the so-called defeat device that allowed them to beat emissions tests. That could reach $10 billion, according to Steve Berman, a lead attorney for the $1.6 billion settlement with Toyota for diminished car values. Volkswagen at least should refund customers for the $1,000-to-$7,000 premium they paid for the “clean diesel” technology and cover the cars’ lost value, consumer lawyers contend.
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