The man that steered the city of Detroit’s exit out of bankruptcy – the biggest such municipal case – a retired US Bankruptcy Judge will now have another massive task at hand: resolve the settlements stemming from VW’s emission cheating scandal.
Chief U.S. District Judge Gerald Rosen has asked Steven Rhodes – who also has an engineering undergraduate degree – to assist in mediation cases between the German carmaker and affected owners of the vehicles. In the US there are already around 300 lawsuits brought against the company as the largest European automaker has admitted to installing illegal software into diesel-powered cars to artificially comply with the emissions limits when in real world driving they spewed up to 40 times the allowed level of pollutants. Rosen has decided that Rhodes and former U.S. District Judge Layn Phillips of Oklahoma would become “masters for the purpose of facilitating expedited settlement negotiations,” according to court documents.
The VW lawsuits stemming from the cheating scandal are widely expected to get consolidated and thus be heard in a single location. At the beginning of December a host of judges are set to gather in New Orleans to select the location – those seen possible being Detroit, New York, New Jersey, California, or Virginia. While only around half a million cars in the US are affected by the dieselgate scandal, involving the four-cylinder diesel engines in the 2009-2015 Jetta, Beetle, Golf, 2014 and 2015 Passat and the 2009 to 2015 Audi A3, the company said it had actually fitted the illegal software in up to 11 million vehicles sold around the world.