Maryland readers may have already heard that car manufacturer Volkswagen admitted that its diesel vehicles were fraudulently rigged to pass emissions. The cars, which were marketed for their supposedly clean and efficient running, would have miserably failed emissions testing if the company had not cheated. In the wake of this scandal, business litigation is either being filed -- or contemplated -- by consumers, shareholders and even other car manufacturers.
Currently, there are nearly 230 potential class-action suits filed in federal courts across the United States against the German automaker. There is a good possibility that the cases will be consolidated in order to avoid the cost and time needed to prosecute each and every case. The Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation will hold a hearing on Dec. 3 to determine where the cases should be heard.
It is anticipated that numerous law firms will be in New Orleans on that day to make their cases regarding jurisdiction. One of the top contenders at this point seems to be the U.S. District Court in Los Angeles because crucial evidence regarding the rigged emissions tests was gathered from the California Air Resources Board. Another contender is the federal court in Virginia where Volkswagen is headquartered here in the United States.
This will certainly be a case that will be followed closely by a number of business litigation lawyers around the country, including many here in Maryland. This scandal has the potential to be one of the nation's largest and most costly cases reaching well into the billions -- and that could be just for consumer claims. Therefore, the ultimate outcome of the litigation could produce precedents that might affect businesses throughout the country.
Source: Los Angeles Times, "Race is on to file suits against VW", Stuart Pfeifer, Oct. 3, 2015