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From Products Liability Law Daily, December 17, 2015

Feinberg tapped to design, administer VW’s TDI emissions claims program

By Pamela C. Maloney, J.D.

Kenneth R. Feinberg, managing partner of The Law Offices of Kenneth R. Feinberg, PC, has been tapped to design and administer an independent claims resolution program to address claims related to Volkswagen’s 2.0L and 3.0L TDI vehicles affected by the emissions compliance issue. He was appointed to two presidential commissions by Presidents Reagan and Clinton and administered several other programs. Most recently, Feinberg administered the program handling claims relating ignition switch defects in General Motors vehicles (Volkswagen AG Press Release, December 17, 2015).

Volkswagen stated that it continues to fully cooperate with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the California Air Resources Board (CARB) as the company works to develop approved remedies for the affected TDI vehicles as quickly as possible. As the claims program is developed, Mr. Feinberg will consult these agencies for their input.

On December 16, 2015, Volkswagen announced concrete measures it is taking to remediate the software issues that allowed these vehicles to circumvent emissions testing. Specifically, Volkswagen will notify owners that a recall measure is scheduled for their vehicle. The recall procedure consists of a software update that will take just under a half an hour to complete. The remediation plan was approved by Germany’s Federal Motor Transport Authority and applies to Europe (EU-28 Markets) only.

In Germany, the remediation plan will be conducted in several waves as follows: (1) affected 2.0-litre engines will be remedied during the first quarter of 2016; (2) affected 1.2-litre engines are scheduled for the end of the second quarter of 2016; and (3) affected 1.6-litre engines will be remedied during the third quarter of 2016.

Volkswagen also expressly waived until December 31, 2017, the limitation period for any claims made in connection with the software installed in vehicles with EA 189 engines. The waiving of this limitation applies even where a claim's validity has already expired, the company noted.

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