Newark, NJ: A $69 million settlement has been approved by a US magistrate judge in Newark, this week, ending litigation brought by owners of Volkswagens and Audis whose interiors leaked during rainstorms.
The terms of the settlement provide for $10,000 in compensation for each of the nine class representatives, $9.2 million in fees, and $675,000 in costs for the two class-counsel firms who led the action.
The suit was originally filed against Volkswagen of America Inc. and its subsidiaries, including Audi. It included about three million vehicles and 5.5 million class members. They claimed violations of the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act as well as breach of express and implied warranty and breach of the duty of good faith and fair dealing.
The vehicles involved in the suit were Volkswagen Passat, Jetta, New Beetle, Golf and Touareg and Audi A4, A6 and A8 models made between 1997 and 2005. The suit alleged two design defects in the vehicles, specifically that leaves and other debris clogged a pollen filter, preventing water entering the car's cowl from draining to the ground, and clogged drain holes designed to carry water from the sunroof mechanism. Both defects allow water to enter the passenger compartment near the dashboard and sunroof, in some cases damaging electronic components or ruining the carpet.