SAN FRANCISCO — The lawyers handling private lawsuits against Volkswagen AG related to its diesel emissions scandal got judicial sign-off on an additional $125 million in fees and costs Friday.
The order brings the total awarded to the 22-lawyer plaintiffs’ steering committee led by Elizabeth Cabraser of San Francisco’s Lieff Cabraser Heimann Bernstein to nearly $350 million.
U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer on Friday approved $121 million in fees and $4 million in costs for the settlement dealing with claims related to vehicles with 3.0-liter diesel engines. Breyer pointed out that the 3.0-liter settlement is “conservatively valued at $902 million” for the 88,500 class members and that VW also separately agreed to pay legal fees.
Friday’s order comes after the judge previously approved $175 million in fees as a result of the $14.7 billion settlement VW reached to resolve claims related to 475,000 2.0-liter diesel engines rigged to cheat emissions tests.
The plaintiffs steering committee said in an emailed statement that less than two months after the 3.0-liter settlement was approved, class members have already submitted more than 30,000 claims for review well before the deadline to do so.
“The claims process, which began immediately after settlement approval, is running smoothly, more than $520 million in payment offers have been made, and over 10,000 claims have already been paid,” the committee said. “We negotiated these agreements to hold Volkswagen accountable for its breach of consumer trust, and we hope that all class members choose to take advantage of the benefits detailed in these settlements.”
The PSC’s statement, like Breyer’s order, pointed out the fees were paid in addition to VW’s agreed payout to class members and did not affect the class recovery.
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