Kenneth Fineberg finds himself helping out another automaker in crisis. Volkswagen announced yesterday they have brought in Fienberg to work on and oversee a new claims program for owners of Volkswagen models involved in the diesel emission scandal.
“We are pleased to announce the retention of Kenneth Feinberg. His extensive experience in handling such complex matters will help to guide us as we move forward to make things right with our customers,” said Michael Horn, President and CEO, Volkswagen Group of America in a statement.
Automobile Magazine was on a conference call with Feinberg to discuss his involvement and plans. Fineberg made it clear this was going to be a tough task as he'll have to figure out what is a legitimate claim and what is the appropriate remedy for those who apply in the program.
"The issues are always the same: Who's eligible to file a claim? What is the remedy? What are the proof requirements when somebody commits a claim?" said Feinberg.
"What is an appropriate remedy that would give the car owner total peace. And that is a very, very challenging question which we certainly can't answer yet."
Feinberg said on the call he expects as many as 500,000 potential claimants in the U.S. The hope for this program is to consolidate the number of lawsuits against Volkswagen. At the moment, there are more 500 lawsuits against Volkswagen that are related to the diesel emission scandal.
Feinberg didn't give a timeline as to when we could see a claims program go live.
"This is going to take some time. But we'll begin as soon as possible," said Feinberg.
Before being brought in by Volkswagen, Feinberg was the administrator for General Motors' ignition switch compensation fund for victims and family of victims. Under his watch, the fund determined that 124 people were killed by the ignition switch turning off unexpectedly and causing the car to lose power. The fund also determined that 275 people were injuried because it.
Source: Automobile Magazine, Volkswagen
Press Release is on Page 2
Volkswagen Announces Engagement of Kenneth R. Feinberg to Design and Administer a Claims Program Related to the TDI Emissions Compliance Issue
Herndon, VA (December 17, 2015) Volkswagen announced today that it has retained attorney Kenneth R. Feinberg, managing partner of The Law Offices of Kenneth R. Feinberg, PC, to design and administer an independent claims resolution program to address claims related to the 2.0L and 3.0L TDI vehicles affected by the emissions compliance issue. Volkswagen believes Mr. Feinberg will develop an independent, fair and swift process for resolving these claims.
“We are pleased to announce the retention of Kenneth Feinberg. His extensive experience in handling such complex matters will help to guide us as we move forward to make things right with our customers,” said Michael Horn, President and CEO, Volkswagen Group of America.
Mr. Feinberg stated that he will “commence work immediately designing an independent claims process that will meet claimants’ needs.” He added that “we hope to have a claims program designed as expeditiously as possible. In order to do so, we will need the input not only of Volkswagen, but also vehicle owners, their lawyers, and other interested parties.”
Mr. Feinberg is a well-respected attorney with extensive experience managing high-profile issues and many of the nation’s most challenging legal matters. He was appointed to two presidential commissions by Presidents Reagan and Clinton and administered several other significant programs. More information on Kenneth Feinberg can be found at http://feinberglawoffices.com/
Volkswagen continues to fully cooperate with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the California Air Resources Board (CARB) as the Company works to develop approved remedies for the affected TDI vehicles as quickly as possible. As the claims program is developed, Mr. Feinberg will consult these agencies for their input.
For more information regarding the Volkswagen TDI emissions compliance issue, please visit www.vwdieselinfo.com