It isn’t often that this happens to me.

If there is a way for me to lose large amounts of money through no fault of my own, it will happen.  Those bucks are history.  Or, more likely, my money is in somebody else’s pocket.

Damn.

But when the Volkswagen scandal hit the news this past fall, I will honestly say I breathed a sigh of relief.

You see, we’d been looking to replace my car for well over a year at that point, and a Volkswagen Golf Sportwagen was in the running.  (We wouldn’t have gone for a diesel though.  Even though I had no inkling of the cheating, I figured sooner or later any diesel was going to smell like my neighbor’s Mercedes Diesel which not only stinks to high heaven, but increases the particulate content of the atmosphere 10-fold every time he fires the damn thing up.)

Volkswagen clean diesel

Wikimedia photo.

When we read about the cheating, Volkswagen immediately came off the list. So did Audi and Porsche, which were only on the “Wish” list anyway.

Why would we want to buy a car from a company that intentionally cheated its customers and damaged the environment?

I felt bad for the folks who’d bought any Volkswagens, though, because surely the value of their cars plummeted, diesel or gas-powered. A car is a huge investment for most of us; this hurts big time.

I knew there would be lawsuits out the wahzoo brought by people who had been defrauded.  There are times when lawsuits are absolutely justified.  This is one of them.

Enter the GOP.

GOP We don't discriminate

Photo credit:  All Things Democrat

Later this week, the U.S. House of Representatives will vote on a bill that will screw folks who bought Volkswagens.  It will take away the ability of them to file a class action law suit.  And of course, class action is the only way that individuals have a prayer of getting any money back for their losses.

H.R. 1927, the hilariously titled “Fairness in Class Action Litigation Act,” was introduced by Neanderthal congressman Bob Goodlatte (R-I’m sure you’re shocked-VA) — and the House is expected to vote on it this week.

The bill states that it will do the following,

This bill amends the federal judicial code to prohibit federal courts from certifying any proposed class seeking monetary relief for personal injury or economic loss unless the party seeking to maintain such a class action affirmatively demonstrates that each proposed class member suffered an injury of the same type and scope as the injury of the named class representatives. (Emphasis added)

In short, that means that every single Volkswagen owner must have identical factors in order for a Class Action suit to be allowed to go forward.  That means that, in order to join a class action lawsuit, each and every Volkswagen purchaser must have:

  • Purchased the exact same vehicle
  • Paid the same amount for their vehicle
  • Driven the same amount of mileage
  • Etc. etc. etc.

The entire purpose of the bill is to prevent Class Action law suits.  [For those unaware of what this means, a class action law suit is when a group of normal people who have been injured band together and sue a large entity for redress.  Class action lawsuits are the only way a group of normal consumers can maybe, possibly, get some measure of restitution.  How we can keep from being screwed.

Earlier today, I wrote to my congresswoman, asking her to vote against this bill. Because while it impacts the folks who bought Volkswagens, it will be used to prevent class action law suits from the time it is enacted onwards.  And sooner or later, it will impact all of us.

If you would like to write your Congressman or woman, and tell them to vote against this bill, here is the link to find your Rep:  http://www.house.gov/representatives/.

Thank you to my bloggin’ buddy, Mark, at Lean Left for reminding me of this story and inspiring me to write about it.

 

 

32 Comments

Filed under 'Merica, 2016, Cancer on Society, Climate Change, Conspicuous consumption, Disgustology, Do GOP Voters Actually THINK?, Europe, Flatulence, Huh?, Hypocrisy, Political Corruption, Politics, Stealing, Vote, Washington, Wild Beasts, WTF?

32 responses to “

  1. I am not a big fan of class action lawsuits because, as you said to VJ, they seem mainly to be vehicles for generating obscene amounts of money for the law firms who often craft them out of thin air.

    I’ve received a number of notices over the years about my right to join in with righteous fury and get redress against some evil corporation, and every one was like the suit against either UPS or FedEx, can’t remember which, for possibly overcharging me at some point 10 years earlier. My take of the pot was a coupon for $10 off my next shipment. The attorneys got a bazillion $.

    There has got to be, GOT to be some middle ground between the ridiculous suit requirements you mention and the ridiculous money grabs that we usually see; between making plaintiffs pay all costs in a way that chills our right to legitimately sue, and never making plaintiffs pay anything for countless frivolous lawsuits for which we all end up paying.

    Liked by 1 person

    • The lawyers do end up with an obscene percentage of any awards, and that should be remedied. But companies are truly terrified of class action suits — the damages are automatically tripled. It does go a long way to keeping businesses from doing exactly what VW did.

      I disagree though that they are all or even mostly merit less.

      And this legislation is not designed to help the injured get more of the pot. It is purely for the companies.

      Like

  2. These people are just shameless… and not in the cute, funny way I am…

    Liked by 1 person

  3. You are as always an inspiration. Of course my Senators are Cornyn and Cruz….can you say waste of time? Slowly and with enthusiasm? But I am going to write to them and my waste of space and time Congressional members as well.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Someone on the news last night was saying that Cruz is “likeable” — John and I turned to each other and said “who???” I think that he can’t possibly become president because who would want to have a beer with him!

      Every time I write to one of mine, I feel the same way. Wasting time. But I do it anyway. (I am lucky enough to have two Dem senators, but my rep is positioning herself for leadership — she is horrible. I tried hard to prevent her election… Oh well)

      Like

  4. Dana

    How does this affect the value of my dad’s 1968 Audi Fox hatchback?

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Mark

    Thanks for spreading the word, Elyse. I hope your readers do send that letter.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I hope so too. And even as a prolific write to my senators and congresswoman person, the letters never do any good. (Two Democratic senators vote the way I want mostly, one vapid GOP house member votes with the folks who will help her rise in the pecking order.) But still …

      The shame is that it isn’t well publicized. It will just fall by the wayside like all the other screw-the-people legislation they sponsor. Thank god for the blogs — KOS, TPM, etc.

      Like

  6. As a previous VW owner, I have to say I loved that car. It actually saved my life when I committed “autocide”. It has always been on my list whenever looking for a new car but I could never afford another one. We are looking again and because of this outrage it didn’t even make it to the fantasy list. I don’t see how they could ever regain the trust of anyone again in any country. If I could I would write to your congresswoman and back you up. We Canadians have no influence over the GOP.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I forgot to mention we had a VW Passatt while we were in Europe. It was great and fun to drive (exactly why we were going to look at VWs this time around). That makes me even madder at them! I bet you feel that way too.

      A surprising thing was that sales of non-diesels went up in the US AFTER the scandal broke — because they offered huge discounts. People are sheep/fools.

      Thanks for being willing to write my congresswoman. She doesn’t listen to me, either!

      Liked by 1 person

      • All we got in Canada was full page “Our Bad” letters in the newspapers. No sales on anything.

        Liked by 1 person

        • I personally think the company owes each person a new non-cheater model car. That would actually be cheaper than the cost I read about to retrofit…

          I don’t think the people who bought them got much of a deal — they were still expensive and everybody looked at them like they were chumps! (Perhaps because they are.)

          Liked by 1 person

  7. Just another example of odd things that come from the House … and I question if it would get through the Senate.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. You made me curious about what the position is over here in the UK because we only ever hear the term Class Action Suit from the states, I found an article which leaves me a little confused, it says:

    “Class actions have been a feature of the US legal system for many years and involve a lawsuit filed by an individual on behalf of a group. However, they had no parallel in the UK, although there have been large-scale lawsuits on behalf of groups of people such as those who contracted asbestosis.”

    I’m not sure I’m clear what the difference is, any ideas? I also learned that in the US the loser doesn’t have to pay the winner’s legal fees in a court case which they have to do over here.

    Liked by 1 person

    • The US legal system is ridiculously complicated — and I say that as someone who works in it (although I’m not a lawyer, either). There are state and federal cases, circuit courts, appellate, supreme (in state and federal). So I won’t try to explain this!

      Class actions can be a useful tool for plaintiffs seeking redress — although the bulk of the award usually goes to the attorneys.

      As to legal fees, that depends, too. Some courts make the loser pay; some don’t. There is a horrible example of one where they do — the parents of one of the victims of the Aurora shooting sued the gun manufacturer (I think). They lost (they always do) and then are now liable for $200,000 in court costs. Talk about injustice …

      Like

  9. It bugs me that this isn’t in the news. We need to clear the air and exhaust every resource, or legislation like this will multiply like rabbits.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Absurd. That’s all I can say.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. As someone of way-more-than-average Neanderthal genetic background, I take strong exception to your use of “Neanderthal” as an insult. Just sayin’…

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Aaaaarrrrrgh.

    Aaaaarrrrrgh.

    Aaaaarrrrrgh.

    I want to say something articulate. Really, I do. But all that comes to me right now is:

    Aaaaarrrrrgh.

    Liked by 2 people

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