Attorneys Say Clause in VW ‘Goodwill’ Payment Might Block Litigation

(Los Angeles Times/TNS) -

Volkswagen is offering $500 cash and $500 in VW dealer credit to owners of its diesel cars, a first step in compensating them in the wake of a global emissions-test cheating scandal.

The “goodwill package” is a stopgap measure while the automaker works on a way to fix the cars, which contain software designed to evade U.S. pollution regulations.

VW says customers don’t have to give up their right to sue the company — but some attorneys dispute that and are warning customers not to sign an arbitration clause required to get the money.

“It is a complete end run around the litigation that is in place,” said Amy Williams-Derry, an attorney with Keller Rohrback, one of the law firms pursuing class action against the automaker. “They are trying to buy off plaintiffs who have already sued and consumers who would benefit from a class-action recovery.”

Some of the hundreds of cases already filed seek to have VW buy back the vehicles for the full price customers originally paid.