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Settlement scuttles trial in Virginia consumer fraud case

Few of us think of Volkswagen as an American company. But the German automaker's U.S. division -- Volkswagen Group of America Inc. -- is just a few miles west of McLean in Herndon.

That U.S. unit recently agreed to settle a consumer fraud lawsuit over its marketing of clean-emissions vehicles. The settlement came days before a Fairfax County trial was scheduled to begin.

Fairfax County Circuit Court Chief Judge Bruce D. White dismissed the lawsuit based on the settlement. The legal claim was initiated by a plaintiff who owned a 2014 Jetta.

The scheduled trial was one of three that the company faced over claims that it had deceived Volkswagen vehicle buyers by rigging emissions controls to give false test readings.

Volkswagen admitted in 2015 that it installed software on 11 million diesel cars that enabled the vehicles to detect emissions testing. The software then changed the vehicle performance accordingly, resulting in better test scores. The entire scheme was apparently an effort to boost sales of the company's heavily marketed diesel vehicles.

According to news reports, once the software detected lab testing conditions, it reduced engine power below normal highway operating conditions. 

Terms of the settlement were not disclosed.

The plaintiff had sought $725,000 plus attorney’s fees. Volkswagen had countered with an offer to reimburse him for the vehicle he had purchased for $23,700.

If you or your business is involved in a legal dispute over false claims or breach of contract, contact a law firm experienced in protecting interests and rights in business disputes.

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