December 2, 2015 — Volkswagen (VW) and the Justice Department are asking federal judges to centralize more than 350 lawsuits involving illegal emissions-cheating software in one federal court in Michigan.
Lawyers for VW want the cases to be heard by U.S. District Judge Gerald E. Rosen in Detroit.
The U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) will hold a hearing tomorrow in New Orleans to discuss the matter, Reuters reports.
VW has asked the judges to split the litigation into two tracks — one for owners of diesel vehicles, and another for securities lawsuits involving stockholders and pension funds.
Attorneys for car-owners have asked the judges to consolidate the litigation in Washington state, Texas, Virginia, or California. Lawsuits have been filed in at least 40 states, including dozens of class actions.
The litigation is on pause while lawyers await a decision from the JPML, presumably to avoid rulings that conflict with those of a centralized court. Consolidating the litigation for pre-trial proceedings also helps conserve the resources of the court and improves efficiency.
In September, VW admitted installing illegal software on 11 million “CleanDiesel” TDI vehicles to cheat emissions testing. About 500,000 of those vehicles were sold in the United States. Last month, VW said another 85,000 larger vehicles and SUVs dating back to the 2009 model-year were affected.