Daily Management Review

Instead Of EPA Settlement VW Resists Move for Trial


Instead Of EPA Settlement VW Resists Move for Trial
According to a court filing, as Volkswagen braces for a crucial court hearing on Thursday, the car maker is resisting a demand from U.S. plaintiffs to go to trial rather than settle its diesel emissions case with government regulators.
April 21 was the last date that was given to Volkswagen and regulators to agree on a fix for nearly 600,000 diesel cars on U.S. roads implicated by VW's emissions test-rigging scandal by a U.S. federal judge last month.  
According to the joint proposed agenda for the hearing on Thursday at the San Francisco district court about its progress toward reaching a deal with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), VW said that it does "not believe any expedited hearing or bench trial is appropriate or required".
An expedited hearing or bench trial, or an expedited "all issues" trial including punitive damages was proposed by the plaintiffs which is essentially a committee representing the rights of thousands of consumers who say they were tricked into buying polluting diesel vehicles .
If an out-of-court settlement is not reached between Volkswagen and the EPA, the case will go to trial.
The carmaker's shares were driven to the top of the benchmark DAX index on Wednesday by the possibility of VW concluding months of talks with the EPA. VW shares were up 6.1 percent.
VW did not immediately return calls seeking comment.
VW would be able to finally provision for potential liabilities in its 2015 results, which are due to be approved by the automaker's supervisory board on Friday if an agreement with U.S. authorities, also on financial penalties, is reached.
"It would be a major positive trigger for the stock if VW quantified the total potential cost of the diesel affair," said Arndt Ellinghorst of market research firm Evercore ISI, who recommends buying the shares.
Earlier, a deadline of March 24 was set for Europe’s biggest automaker to explain where it stood on remediation efforts by U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer. That order had come after the car maker had held discussion for months on the issue with the U.S. Justice Department, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and California Air Resources Board.
While settling on the April 21 deadline, Breyer, who is overseeing more than 500 civil lawsuits, had said “a concrete and detailed proposal for getting the polluting cars fixed or off the road” must be made by April 21 otehrwise the matter could would move forward tow3ards a trial. A settlement of the case for VW would have meant fixing some or all of the roughly 580,000 U.S. vehicles or making equivalent payments to the consumers through buybacks and other options, Breyer had said.

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