CLEAN Foundation has been established in Amsterdam. The foundation works worldwide to assist Volkswagen owners duped by diesel “defeat device” software. CLEAN stands for Consumers Lead Emissions Accountability Network.
CLEAN Foundation registers worldwide claims and complaints of victims of the manipulative software in Volkswagen’s diesel automobiles.
CLEAN Foundation aims to make arrangements for a global settlement on behalf of all aggrieved parties.
Victims may be the owners of affected Volkswagen diesel automobiles as well car dealers and leasing companies.
Additionally, municipalities, cities, or provinces that have suffered from an excessive amount of the toxic pollutant NOx (nitric oxide and nitrogen dioxide) emissions may be included amongst the victims whose rights are supported by CLEAN Foundation. NOx is a generic term for the mono-nitrogen oxides NO and NO2(nitric oxide and nitrogen dioxide) predominantly produced from the burning of nitrogen and oxygen gases during combustion. Nox is a toxic pollutant that produces smog, environmental damage, and human health problems, sometimes causing death.
CLEAN Foundation is supported by Global Justice Network (GJN), a worldwide network of attorneys who specialize in consumer compensation claims and by Corpocon Legal B.V. (Corpocon), a company that assists claimants with their legal claims.
CLEAN Foundation, even though it is just beginning its activities on behalf of victims, already represents thousands of claimants from numerous countries including the Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland, France, Spain, Italy, Belgium, England, Greece, Poland, Czech Republic, Ukraine, India and China. CLEAN Foundation will be expanding its scope of representation to many other countries with the support of GJN and Corpocon.
Volkswagen’s “clean diesel” defeat device software problems were made known to the public in September 2015 via the U.S.A.’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the California Air Resource Board (CARB). On September 22, 2015, Volkswagen admitted that “defeat device” software had been intentionally installed in 11 million of its diesel cars worldwide. Volkswagen also admitted that the fraudulent software was installed so that vehicles would be able to successfully pass emissions tests, even though Volkswagen had formerly represented that the vehicles were compliant with the law. On September 22, 2015, Volkswagen announced that it had set aside EUR 6.5 billion in reserves in the third quarter of 2015 for resolution of the problem.
Only while vehicles are undergoing testing, i.e. are stationary and not being driven on the road, do the recorded emissions levels meet required emissions standards. When being driven under normal conditions, the cars emit pollutants up to 40 times the tolerated limits.
Volkswagen’s installing “defeat device” software is a violation of both U.S. and European law.
Numerous lawsuits have been filed, including by GJN members, against Volkswagen and its related companies including Audi, Skoda, Seat and Porsche both in the U.S.A. and in other counties.
Based on Volkswagen’s own admission, around 11 million autos are affected, the vast majority, around 8.5 million of them, in Europe.
To date, although Volkswagen has offered to “fix” the engines at its own cost, the company has declined to pay compensation for any losses car owners may have, including loss of the vehicle’s resale value, extra cost for increased fuel consumption after the car has been “fixed”, possible loss of the vehicle’s power after it has been “fixed”, and possible increased long term maintenance costs due to the rigged software and changes to the vehicle required by the “fix”.
Although the German auto regulator, the Kraftfahrt-Bundesamt (KBA), has approved Volkswagen’s proposed “fix” of the 1.2-litre, 1.6-litre and 2.0-litre engines, EPA and CARB have, to date, refused to approve Volkswagen’s proposals for “fixing” the cars now on U.S. roads.
All lawsuits filed in U.S. federal court by consumers against Volkswagen in the U.S. have been consolidated and transferred to the U.S. District Court, Northern District of California in San Francisco, under Multi-District-Litigation (MDL) Judge Charles E. Breyer for coordination of discovery and negotiation of a possible settlement. Several GJN members have been appointed by Judge Breyer to the MDL’s Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee. The proposed class action case covers all affected consumers who bought the cars in the U.S. Per U.S. class action litigation, all members of the class are automatically included unless they opt out of the litigation.
On February 22, 2016, a 719-page consolidated class action complaint was filed on behalf of consumers in the MDL against Volkswagen AG and numerous other defendants including 9 Volkswagen directors, officers and engineers; other car manufacturers including Audi AG and Dr. ing. h.c. F. Porsche AG; and Robert Bosch GmbH, the manufacturer of elements of the defeat devices, outlining alleged violations of U.S. federal and state law. In the complaint requesting trial by jury, the plaintiffs allege:
“This case arises out of one of the most brazen corporate crimes in history, a cautionary tale about winning at any cost. Volkswagen cheated its way to the top of the automotive food chain and spared no victim along the way, targeting its customers, U.S. and foreign regulators, and even the very air we breathe. … Volkswagen’s illegal scheme was born out of greed and ambition to dominate the global automotive market at any cost.”
Judge Breyer has appointed Robert S. Mueller III, former director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (F.B.I.), as Settlement Master.
Volkswagen has announced that attorney and mediator Kenneth R. Feinberg will be acting on behalf of Volkswagen in its attempt to resolve all disputes.
Although Volkswagen offered its U.S. and Canadian customers a goodwill package valued at USD $1000.00 and has confirmed that acceptance of the goodwill package will not affect a consumer’s right to compensation for damages, Volkswagen has, to date, not offered any compensation to its non-American based customers. Around 580,000 affected diesel cars were sold in the U.S.A.; the balance of the affected 11 million autos were sold outside the U.S.
CLEAN Foundation has a 3-person Board of Directors including Ms. Melissa R. Ferrari as Chairwoman, Mr. Orlando I. Kadir as Vice-Chairman and Secretary, and Ms. Elisabeth Loudon as Treasurer. CLEAN Foundation will have a 3-person Supervisory Board to include Mr. Nicholas J. Roenneberg, former Head of Global Claims at Munich Re, one of the world’s largest reinsurance companies.
Pursuant to the law of the Netherlands, if a settlement agreed to by the parties through the efforts of CLEAN Foundation is approved by the Court, the settlement will apply to all affected persons unless they opt out. This would essentially convert an agreed settlement into a Court ordered opt-out settlement, providing Volkswagen “global peace” or final resolution of the controversy.
The European Union supports collective redress, such as that available through settlements effected by Dutch foundations through the Dutch WCAM procedure, via the European Commission’s Recommendation of 11 June 2013 on common principles for injunctive and compensatory collective redress mechanisms in the Member States concerning violations of rights under Union Law (2013/396/EU).
Information for affected consumers will be posted on CLEAN Foundation’s website www.cleanvw.org.
For additional information, please contact CLEAN Foundation via email to firstname.lastname@example.org or call Melissa R. Ferrari, Chairwoman of the Board of Directors of CLEAN Foundation at the law firm O’Haire & Fiore at its Miami, Florida, office at (305) 892 5051.