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U.S. Jury Awards VW Diesel Owners $20K Each

VW to appeal the bellwether case.
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Five Volkswagen diesel owners in the U.S. who hoped to make a killing in a jury trial over VW’s diesel emission cheating, didn’t.

A jury in the U.S. District Court in San Francisco awarded a grand total of $100,000 in punitive damages to the five, who claimed they were victims of fraud, Reuters reports.

Moderate Awards

Winning $20,000 each certainly isn’t trivial. It’s also much better than the $5,700 in damages awarded earlier by the same jury to be shared by five other plaintiffs in the case.

The 10 plaintiffs had asked for millions of dollars in punitive damages from VW. Legal pundits at the time warned that the jury might just agree to punish VW.

Image: Volkswagen

The company admitted more than four years ago that it rigged its diesels to evade emission limits. Officials also lied to regulators about what the cheating as the carmaker continued to brag to consumers about how clean those engines were.

VW pointed out during the trial that it already has paid out more than $23 billion in the U.S. for fines, damage payments, vehicle buybacks and environmental restitution for its bad behavior.

VW to Appeal

The company commended the jury for not going crazy with its awards. But the carmaker also says it will ask the court to reduce the second round of damages, which it claims exceeds “clear constitutional limits.”

The case is a bellwether that indicates what about 350 other people might expect in court. They constitute a group that rejected the class-action settlements reached with VW in 2016 that covered 475,000 owners of 4-cylinder diesels and, a year later, 82,000 owners of V-6 diesels.

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