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Federal judge grants preliminary approval to Volkswagen settlement

[JURIST] A federal judge on Tuesday granted preliminary approval to a Volkswagen (VW) [corporate website] settlement [settlement, PDF] meant to buy back more than 80,000 vehicles. The settlement outlines [settlement materials] a $1.22 billion plan to buy back [Reuters report] polluting 3.0 liter diesel-engine vehicles. Volkswagen may end up being forced to pay over $4.04 billion if their fixes are not approved by regulators. VW is expected to plead guilty [BBC report] on February 24 in Detroit to three felony counts, under a plea agreement, that VW secretly installed software in vehicles allowing them to exceed legal pollution limits. As part of its various settlements, VW agreed to various reforms [Automotive News report], new audits, as well as oversight by independent monitors to resolve their emissions investigations.

VW is facing legal difficulty around the world over the emissions scandal. In December the EU decided to take action [JURIST report] against seven member states over the emissions scandal. A US judge approved [JURIST report] a $14.7 billion settlement in October between VW and the US Department of Justice, the Federal Trade Commission, the state of California and car owners who filed a class action lawsuit over the company's emissions scandal. In September the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission sued [JURIST report] VW and its local subsidiary for misleading customers. In August a district court in Germany ruled [JURIST report] that a collective complaint against VW may move forward. Like US-style class-action lawsuits, the collective complaint was launched on behalf of multiple investors who lost money following the diesel emissions cheating scandal. In July a judge for the US District Court for the Northern District of California gave preliminary approval [JURIST report] to a $15 billion settlement between VW and the US Environmental Protection Agency, California officials and consumers. In June VW agreed [JURIST report] to spend up to $14.7 billion to settle allegations of cheating emissions tests and deceiving customers in a settlement with US regulators. In March the US Federal Trade Commission filed suit [JURIST report] against VW for false advertising.

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