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Atlanta law firm among first to sue Volkswagen over scandal

Written by Firm | Sep 24, 2015 | News

An Atlanta law firm has become among the first in the country to sue Volkswagen over its escalating emissions scandal.

Robbins Ross Alloy Belinfante Littlefield LLC on Sept. 22 filed a lawsuit in federal court in Atlanta against Volkswagen on behalf of a Georgia man, Joel Silverman, who bought a Jetta Sportwagen in 2009. The lawsuit is seeking class-action status to represent all Georgia owners of the affected VW vehicles.

The lawsuit is among the earliest of thousands likely to be filed against VW, whose CEO resigned Sept. 23 over the scandal, in which the giant German automaker allegedly installed secret software in four-cylinder Volkswagen and Audi diesel cars made from 2009-2015 to cheat Environmental Protection Agency emission standards.

“It’s amazing how many calls we’ve gotten from owners of these vehicles wanting to know whether they can file suit,” firm principal Richard L. Robbins told Atlanta Business Chronicle on Thursday. “We saw this issue and started getting calls from car owners who were obviously very distressed about this.” He said he expects to add numerous other plaintiffs to the case in the next week. To read the lawsuit, click here.

“We believe it’s appropriate to have a suit representing Georgia auto owners,” Robbins said. There are some legal issues specific to Georgia that could make the case distinctive, he added. The litigation boutique law firm has 17 lawyers.

The scandal is going to be around for quite a while, Robbins said. “At the end of the day this is going to cost them billions of dollars.”

Another Georgia law firm, Athens-based Blasingame, Burch, Garrard & Ashley P.C., filed its own lawsuit against Volkswagen on Sept. 23 on behalf of a Georgia woman who bought a 2014 Volkswagen Golf. Like the Atlanta lawsuit, it’s seeking class-action status to represent many VW customers. 

Hundreds of such lawsuits are likely to be filed around the country, and then ultimately consolidated into one or a few giant cases.