The Volkswagen scandal rocked the headlines in 2015, as it was discovered
that the world’s largest automaker had installed “defeat device”
software designed to cheat U.S. emissions tests. Volkswagen now faces
more than 60 lawsuits in Texas alone, and the Texas Supreme Court has
issued an opinion which should help these cases proceed more efficiently.
Many Lawsuits Will Be “Grouped”
Volkswagen requested that the Texas Supreme Court create a Multidistrict
Litigation Panel, or MDL, to handle the large number of lawsuits they
are currently facing. Essentially, this MDL will help eliminate much of
the duplicate or overlapping discovery, thus reducing the burden on plaintiffs,
the defendant, as well as the courts themselves. This follows a similar
action taken at the federal level, in which more than 450 lawsuits were
consolidated into an MDL in a California federal court.
What is Discovery?
Discovery is a critical component of any lawsuit, and is essentially the
process through which both parties share information with one another.
Due to the complexity of the case, including the technology and Volkswagen’s
cover-up, discovery will likely be an expensive and time-consuming process
for both sides.
By transferring these cases to just one pretrial judge, much of the discovery
process can be completed just one time, instead of individually for each
case. While certain lawsuits may have unique features which require additional
discovery, the Supreme Court determined that “transferring them
to one MDL pretrial court would serve the convenience of the parties and
witnesses and the efficient resolution of the claims.”
Not All Lawsuits Will Be Handled By MDL Court
Although the bulk of the lawsuits will be transferred to the MDL pretrial
court, the MDL court may choose to either consolidate or separate any
motions brought forth by governmental entities. They have also created
a separate MDL panel to handle the enforcement cases brought forth under
the Texas Clear Air Act.
Our San Antonio injury attorneys are dedicated to the rights of consumers.
If you’ve purchased an
affected Volkswagen vehicle, call (210) 922-2200 today to pursue justice.