Published: January 2016

“V.W. Bailout” bill is bad business for consumers

While the Department of Justice and the Environmental Protection Agency are suing Volkswagen for knowingly cheating on emission tests of its “clean” diesel vehicles, politicians in Washington D.C. are trying to pass a bill that would shield Volkswagen from class-action lawsuits filed on behalf of the nearly 500,000 customers who were defrauded by the company. H.R. 1927 not only prevents V.W. owners from seeking justice, but if passed, aims to cripple all class-action lawsuits against big corporations.

The “Fairness in Class Action Litigation Act” (H.R. 1927) takes aim at agency health, financial and safety regulations and also consumer rights to band together as a class to take their grievances against corporate wrongdoers to court. Also referred to as the "V.W. Bailout" bill since it would wipe out all future class action lawsuits, including those against Volkswagen for knowingly selling consumers so-called "clean" cars that were intentionally designed to "defeat" air pollution limits. Specifically, H.R. 1927 seeks to overhaul how injured parties are grouped into “classes” for class-action lawsuits. The legislation would require attorneys to show that each proposed class member experienced “the same type and scope of injury” as everyone else in the group.

The combination of strong regulatory oversight and class-action litigation can keep companies in line.  H.R. 1927 would not only help V.W. dodge responsibility for its various frauds, but it would cripple class-action lawsuits generally, hurting consumers and their rights. Consumer Action joins its coalition partners in urging congress to oppose H.R. 1927.

Lead Organization

Public Citizen

Other Organizations

Alliance for Justice | American Antitrust Institute | American Association for Justice | American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees | Asian Americans Advancing Justice | AAJC | Autistic Self Advocacy Network | Center for Justice & Democracy | Center for Science in the Public Interest | Committee to Support the Antitrust Laws | Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities Rights TF | Consumer Action | Consumer Federation of America | Consumers for Auto Reliability and Safety | Consumers Union | Consumer Watchdog | D.C. Consumer Rights Coalition | Demand Progress | Disability Rights Education & Defense Fund | Food & Water Watch | Home Owners for Better Building | Homeowners Against Deficient Dwellings | Kentucky Equal Justice Center | Law Foundation of Silicon Valley | Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights | MFY Legal Services, Inc. | National Association of Consumer Advocates | National Consumer Law Center (on behalf of its low income clients) | National Consumers League | National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care | National Disability Rights Network | National Down Syndrome Congress | National Employment Law Project | National Fair Housing Alliance | National Immigration Law Center | Protect All Children's Environment | Public Citizen | Reinvestment Partners | SC Appleseed Legal Justice Center | Science and Environmental Health Network | Southern Poverty Law Center | The Arc of the United States | U.S. PIRG | Woodstock Institute | Workplace Fairness

More Information

For more information, please visit Public Citizen's website.

Download PDF

“V.W. Bailout” bill is bad business for consumers   (H.R.1927classactionletter.pdf)

 
 

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