Back in April 2019, the RAND Corporation and Stanford Law School brought together an impressive group of legal minds from around the globe to discuss the litigation springing out of Volkswagen’s “clean diesel” emissions scandal. Not to get too starstruck here, but the group of about 40 of lawyers, regulators, judges, and academics included U.S. District Senior Judge Charles Breyer of the Northern District of California, who oversaw the multidistrict litigation targeting VW in the U.S., Elizabeth Cabraser of Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein, whom the judge appointed as lead counsel for the plaintiffs, VW’s lead defense counsel Robert Giuffra Jr. of Sullivan & Cromwell, and mediation guru Kenneth Feinberg, whom the company hired to devise a compensation fund for consumers who bought or leased the affected vehicles.
That roundtable discussion and follow-up tracking of the litigation that’s followed in the time since has yielded an impressive report about the VW cases and what they mean for global litigation going forward. The entire report is available online here. But for the Litigation Daily’s money, the big takeaways from the report are that aggrieved consumers can now easily see what people in similar situations in other countries get in terms of compensation in global litigation like this, and they feel entitled to the same treatment. The report also concludes that the VW case is not likely to be a one-off. Some time, some way, some other company is going to find itself in a similar, sprawling mess of global litigation.