Gillard, et al. v. Volkswagen Group of America, Inc.

Civil Action No. 4:17-cv-07287-HSG

United States District Court for the Northern District of California

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. BASIC INFORMATION

  2. Why did I receive a Notice, and what are the settlement benefits?

    A federal court authorized the Notice because you have the right to know about the proposed Settlement of this class action lawsuit and about all of your rights and options before the Court decides whether to grant final approval of the Settlement.

    According to records, you are a current or past owner or lessee of a model year 2010, 2011 or 2012 Audi S4 or Audi S5 vehicle that was imported and distributed by Volkswagen Group of America, Inc. (“VWGoA”) for sale or lease in the United States or Puerto Rico (hereinafter, collectively, “Settlement Class Vehicles”).

    As a current or past owner or lessee of a Settlement Class Vehicle, you are considered a “Settlement Class Member.” A class action lawsuit was filed alleging that there is a defect that might cause the DSG transmissions of the Settlement Class Vehicles to shudder, judder, rough shift or improperly enter “limp mode” at certain times. VWGoA has denied the claims and maintains that the transmissions are not defective, were properly designed and manufactured, that no applicable warranties were breached, that no statutes or laws were violated, and that no wrongdoing occurred with respect to the transmissions in the Settlement Class Vehicles.

    The Lawsuit has been resolved through a Settlement under which the following benefits will be provided:

    A. Reimbursement for Past Unreimbursed Out-of-Pocket Expenses for Covered Repairs

    If, prior to the Notice Date and within nine years or ninety thousand (90,000) miles (whichever occurred first) of the Settlement Class Vehicle’s In-Service Date, a Settlement Class Member incurred and paid out-of-pocket expenses for a Covered Repair (a repair or replacement of the mechatronics unit or the transmission itself, as a result of a diagnosed condition of shuddering, juddering, rough shifting or improperly entering “limp mode” of a Settlement Class Vehicle’s transmission) that was not otherwise reimbursed, and timely submits a valid, complete and signed Claim Form, together with the required documentary proof set forth below, the Settlement Class Member will be entitled to a percentage reimbursement of said past paid out-of-pocket expenses (parts, labor and taxes) for one (1) such Covered Repair, with the percentage of reimbursement determined by the age and mileage of the vehicle at the time of the repair as set forth in Table 1 below:

    (a) If the Covered Repair was performed by an authorized Audi dealer, the Settlement Class Member shall be entitled to receive a percentage of reimbursement of the paid invoice amount of one (1) Covered Repair (parts, labor and taxes), with the percentage of reimbursement determined by the age and mileage of the vehicle at the time of the repair as set forth in Table 1 below.

    (b) If the Covered Repair was performed by a service entity or facility that is not an authorized Audi dealer, then the invoice amount of the one (1) Covered Repair (parts, labor and taxes) from which the applicable percentage of reimbursement will be determined pursuant to Table 1 below, will be limited to a maximum of $5,000 if the Covered Repair was a replacement of the mechatronics unit, and $12,000 if the Covered Repair was a replacement of the entire transmission.

    Time from In-Service Date Up to 50,000 miles 50,001 to 60,000 miles 60,001 to 70,000 miles 70,001 to 80,000 miles 80,001 to 90,000 miles
    Up to 4 years 100% (under original warranty 85% 75% 65% 50%
    4-5 years 85% 80% 70% 60% 45%
    5-6 years 75% 70% 60% 50% 40%
    6-7 years 70% 65% 55% 45% 35%
    7-8 years 65% 55% 45% 40% 30%
    8-9 years 55% 45% 35% 30% 20%

    B. Requirements for and Limitations on Entitlement to Reimbursements Set Forth in Sections A Above

    To qualify for reimbursement of past paid and unreimbursed out-of-pocket expenses provided under Section A above, Settlement Class Members must comply with the following requirements:

    (a) Mail to the Claim Administrator, by first-class mail postmarked no later than July 29, 2022, a fully completed Claim Form, signed and dated under penalty of perjury, together with all required Proof of Repair Expense documentation listed in the Claim Form and Proof of Adherence to the Vehicle’s Maintenance Schedule (documents, evidencing the Settlement Class Member’s adherence to the Settlement Class Vehicle’s maintenance schedule for transmission oil maintenance during the time he/she/it owned and/or leased the vehicle up to the time of the Covered Repair, within a variance of ten percent (10%) of the scheduled time/mileage maintenance requirement, or, in the event maintenance records cannot be obtained despite a good faith effort to obtain them, the Settlement Class Member may submit a sworn Declaration detailing what efforts were made to obtain the records, including why the records are not available, and attesting to adherence to the relevant aspects of the Settlement Class Vehicle’s maintenance schedule as set forth above).

    (b) If the claimant is not a person to whom the Claim Form was addressed, and/or the vehicle with respect to which a Claim is made is not the vehicle identified by VIN number on the mailed Claim Form, the Claim shall contain proof that the claimant is a Settlement Class Member, that the vehicle is a Settlement Class Vehicle and that the Settlement Class Member paid and was not reimbursed for a Covered Repair.

    (c) Any reimbursement pursuant to this Settlement shall be reduced by any previous warranty, carefree maintenance, goodwill, reimbursement, refund, or other payment or concession for the transmission repair that was paid or provided by Defendant, an authorized Audi dealer, or any other entity (including insurers and providers of extended warranties or service contracts).

    (d) Each Claim for Reimbursement must include, in the Claim Form(s), a statement that the Settlement Class Member has not previously been reimbursed, from any other source, for all or part of the out-of-pocket expense for which reimbursement is being sought under this Settlement, or if any full or partial reimbursement was previously received, delineate the amount of the reimbursement received and the source of the reimbursement.

    (e) Transmission shuddering, juddering, rough shifting or improperly entering “limp mode” resulting from misuse, abuse, alteration or modification, a collision or crash, vandalism, lack of or improper maintenance, and/or damage from an environmental or outside source, does not qualify for reimbursement.

    C. Warranty Extension for Current Owners and Lessees of Certain Settlement Class Vehicles that are Eligible

    Effective on March 11, 2022, VWGoA will extend its New Vehicle Limited Warranties applicable to certain Settlement Class Vehicles’ transmissions to cover a percentage of the cost of one (1) repair, by an authorized Audi dealer, of a diagnosed condition of transmission shuddering, juddering, rough shifting or improperly entering “limp mode” of said vehicles within a period of nine (9) years or ninety-thousand (90,000) miles (whichever occurs first) from the Settlement Class Vehicle’s In-Service Date, by either repairing or replacing the transmission or the mechatronics unit, with the amount of said extended warranty coverage determined by the same time and mileage parameters (at time of the repair) and percentages set forth in Table 1 above, and provided that the Settlement Class Member submits, to the dealer, the same Proof of Adherence to the Vehicle’s Maintenance Schedule detailed in Section 1.A above (hereinafter, the “Warranty Extension” or “Extended Warranty”):

    General Terms and Conditions of the Extended Warranty:

    (a) The Extended Warranty is subject to the same terms and conditions set forth in the Settlement Class Vehicle’s New Vehicle Limited Warranty and Warranty and Maintenance Booklet, except for the time/mileage duration of the Extended Warranty and the percentage of its coverage as set forth above.

    (b) Transmission shuddering, juddering, rough shifting or improperly entering “limp mode” resulting from misuse, abuse, alteration or modification, a collision or crash, vandalism, lack of or improper maintenance, and/or damage from an environmental or outside source, shall be excluded and not covered by the Extended Warranty.

    (c) The Extended Warranty will be fully transferable to subsequent owners of Settlement Class Vehicles to the extent that its time and mileage duration has not expired.

    (d) A vehicle is not eligible for an Extended Warranty if it was purchased with a salvaged title or if it was acquired by an insurance company as a result of a total loss.

    (e) VWGoA shall not be responsible for, and shall not warrant, repair or replacement work performed on a Settlement Class Vehicle by an independent service center that is not an authorized Audi dealer.

  3. Why is this a class action settlement?

    In a class action, one or more persons, called the Class Representatives, sue on behalf of other people who have similar claims. Together all of these people are a Class or Class Members. One court resolves the issues for all Class Members, except for those who exclude themselves from the Class.

    The Class Representative in this case is the Plaintiff John Chess, and the company he sued is called the Defendant.

    The Court has not decided in favor of Plaintiff or Defendant. Instead, both sides agreed to a Settlement with no decision or admission of who is right or wrong. That way, all parties avoid the risks and cost of further litigation and a trial, and the people affected (the Settlement Class Members) will get benefits quickly. The Settlement Class Representative and Class Counsel think the Settlement is best for the Settlement Class.

  4. WHO IS PART OF THE SETTLEMENT?

  5. Am I in this Settlement Class?

    The Court has conditionally approved the following definition of a Settlement Class Member: All persons or entities who purchased or leased a Settlement Class Vehicle in the United States or Puerto Rico that was imported and distributed by Volkswagen Group of America, Inc. for sale or lease in the United States of America and Puerto Rico.

    Excluded from the Settlement Class are (a) all Judges who have presided over the Action, and their spouses; (b) all current employees, officers, directors, agents, and representatives of Volkswagen Group Companies, and their family members; (c) any affiliate, parent, or subsidiary of Defendant and any entity in which Defendant have a controlling interest; (d) anyone acting as a used car dealer; (e) anyone who purchased a Settlement Class Vehicle for the purpose of commercial resale; (f) anyone who purchased a Settlement Class Vehicle with salvaged title and/or any insurance company who acquired a Settlement Class Vehicle as a result of a total loss; (g) any insurer of a Settlement Class Vehicle; (h) issuers of extended vehicle warranties and service contracts; (i) any Settlement Class Member who, prior to July 9, 2021 settled with and released Defendant or any Released Parties from any Released Claims; and (j) any Settlement Class Member that files a timely and proper Request for Exclusion from the Settlement Class.

  6. I’m still not sure if I am included in this Settlement.

    If you are still not sure whether you are included, you can call the Claim Administrator at 1-844-957-4280 for more information.

  7. SETTLEMENT BENEFITS – WHAT YOU GET

  8. What does the Settlement provide?

    The benefits afforded by the Settlement are described in Question 1. More details are provided in the next three sections.

  9. Who can send in a Claim for Reimbursement?

    Any person or entity who purchased or leased a Settlement Class Vehicle in the United States or Puerto Rico can send in a timely Claim for Reimbursement for money spent within the parameters and within the time period described in Question 1.

  10. How do I send in a Claim for Reimbursement?

    To submit a Claim for Reimbursement, you must do the following within the required deadline:

    1. Complete, sign under penalty of perjury, and date a Claim Form (there is one enclosed with the Class Notice, and you can also download one). It is recommended that you keep a copy of the completed Claim Form; and
    2. Mail the completed, signed, and dated Claim Form, together with your supporting Proof of Repair Expense documentation (e.g., repair record[s], receipts, and proof of payment) and Proof of Adherence to the Vehicle’s Maintenance Schedule by First-Class Mail, postmarked no later than July 29, 2022, to the address provided on the Claim Form. The information that must be reflected in your records is described on the Claim Form. It is recommended that you keep a copy of your records and receipts.

    If you are eligible for reimbursement benefits under the Settlement but fail to submit the completed Claim Form and supporting documentation by the required deadline, you will not receive a reimbursement.

  11. When do I get my reimbursement or learn whether I will receive a payment?

    If the Claim Administrator determines your Claim is valid, your reimbursement will be mailed to you after the Settlement becomes final, which is called the “Effective Date.” The Court has preliminarily approved the Settlement. The Court will hold a Final Fairness Hearing on August 18, 2022, to decide whether to grant final approval of the Settlement as fair, reasonable, and adequate. Information about the progress of the case will be available on this website.

    If the Claim Administrator determines your Claim should not be paid, you will be mailed a letter telling you this. If the reason for rejecting your Claim is due to a deficiency in your Claim Form and/or supporting documentation, the letter will notify you of the deficiency in your Claim and what you need to submit, and the deadline by which you may correct the deficiency. To check on the status of your Claim, you can call the Claim Administrator at 1-844-957-4280.

  12. What am I giving up to participate in the Settlement and stay in the Settlement Class?

    Unless you exclude yourself by taking the steps described in Question 10 below, you are staying in the Settlement Class, which means that you will be bound by the Settlement Agreement including its release of claims, and cannot sue, continue to sue, or be part of any other lawsuit about the same matters, claims, and legal issues that were asserted or could have been asserted in this case and/or contained in the release of claims (except for claims of personal injury or property damage other than damage to the Settlement Class Vehicles, which are not excluded by the release of claims). It also means that all of the Court’s orders and judgments will apply to you and legally bind you. The specific claims and parties you will be releasing are set forth in the Settlement Agreement.

  13. EXCLUDING YOURSELF FROM THE SETTLEMENT

  14. How do I get out of this Settlement?

    To exclude yourself from the Settlement, you must send a written request for exclusion by U.S. Mail, postmarked no later than April 25, 2022, clearly stating that you want to be excluded from the settlement. Your Request for Exclusion must also include your full name, address, telephone number, and signature, the model, model year and VIN of your vehicle, state whether you are a current or former owner or lessee of a Settlement Class Vehicle and specifically state your desire to be excluded from the Settlement Class. You must mail your Request for Exclusion, postmarked no later than April 25, 2022, to each of the following:

    CLAIMS ADMINISTRATOR CLASS COUNSEL DEFENSE COUNSEL
    DSG Transmission Settlement
    P.O. Box 58220
    Philadelphia, PA 19102
    Alex Straus, Esq.
    MILBERG COLEMAN BRYSON PHILLIPS GROSSMAN, PLLC
    280 S. Beverly Drive, Suite PH
    Beverly Hills, CA 90212
    Michael B. Gallub, Esq.
    HERZFELD & RUBIN, P.C.
    125 Broad Street
    New York, NY 10004

    You cannot exclude yourself on the phone or by email. If you timely submit your request to be excluded by U.S. Mail or express mail, you will not get any benefits of the Settlement and you cannot object to the Settlement. You will not be legally bound by anything that happens in this Lawsuit.

  15. If I don’t exclude myself, can I sue later?

    No, not for the same matters and legal claims that were or could have been asserted in the Action, unless your claim is for personal injury or property damage (other than damage to the Settlement Class Vehicle). The Released Claims are described in the Settlement Agreement.

  16. If I exclude myself, can I get the benefits of this Settlement?

    No. If you exclude yourself from the Settlement Class, you won’t get any money or benefits from this Settlement, and you should not submit a Claim Form. You cannot do both.

  17. Do I have a lawyer in this case?

    The Court has appointed the law firms of Milberg Coleman Bryson Phillips Grossman, PLLC and Simmons Hanly Conroy, LLC to represent Settlement Class Members. These law firms are called “Class Counsel.”

  18. Should I get my own lawyer?

    You do not need to hire your own lawyer to participate in the Settlement because Class Counsel will be representing you and the Settlement Class. However, if you want your own lawyer, you may hire one at your own cost.

  19. How will the lawyers be paid, and will the Settlement Class Representatives receive service awards?

    Class Counsel have prosecuted this case on a contingency basis. They have not received any fees or reimbursement for costs and expenses associated with this case. Class Counsel will file an application with the Court requesting an award of reasonable attorney fees and reasonable costs and expenses (“Fees and Expenses”) in an amount not exceeding a combined total sum of $1,050,000. VWGoA has agreed not to oppose Class Counsel’s application for Fees and Expenses that do not exceed this combined total sum, and Class Counsel have agreed not to accept any Fees and Expenses in excess of that combined total sum.

    Class Counsel will also apply to the Court for a service award to the named Plaintiff, John Chess, who has conditionally been approved as Settlement Class Representative, in the amount of $5,000, for his efforts in pursuing this litigation for the benefit of the Settlement Class.

    Any award for Class Counsel Fees and Expenses and any service award will be paid separately by Defendant, and will not reduce any benefits available to you under the Settlement.

    Class Counsel’s application for Fees and Expenses and the Settlement Class Representative service award will be filed by February 24, 2022, and a copy will be made available for review on the Important Documents page.

  20. SUPPORTING OR OBJECTING TO THE SETTLEMENT

  21. How do I tell the Court that I like or dislike the Settlement?

    If you are a member of the Settlement Class and do not request to be excluded, you can tell the Court you like the Settlement and think it should be approved, or you can ask the Court to deny approval by filing a written objection. You can object to the Settlement and/or to Class Counsel’s requests for Fees and Expenses and the Settlement Class Representative service award. You cannot ask the Court to order a different settlement; the Court can only approve or reject this proposed Settlement. If the Court denies approval of the Settlement, no settlement payments will be sent out and the Lawsuit will continue. If that is what you want to happen, you must object. You are not required to submit anything to the Court unless you are objecting to the Settlement.

    To object to or comment on the Settlement, you must do one of the following:

    1. Submit your written objection or comment, and any supporting papers or materials, to the Court. You may do so by mailing them by U.S. First-Class Mail, postmarked no later than April 25, 2022, addressed to Clerk of the Court, United States District Court for the Northern District of California, Oakland Courthouse, 1301 Clay Street, Oakland CA 94612; or
    2. File your written objection or comment, and any supporting papers or materials, with the Court in person at any location of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California, or on the Court’s ECF online docket for this case, no later than April 25, 2022.

    If you choose to mail your written objection to the Court, you must also, no later than the above date, mail copies of the objection and supporting papers or materials to:

    Alex Straus, Esq., Milberg Coleman Bryson Phillips Grossman, PLLC, 280 S. Beverly Drive, Beverly Hills, CA 90212 (on behalf of Class Counsel);

    Michael B. Gallub, Esq., Herzfeld & Rubin, P.C., 125 Broad Street, New York, NY 10004 (on behalf of Defendant’s counsel); and

    DSG Transmission Settlement, P.O. Box 58220, Philadelphia, PA 19102 (the Claim Administrator).

    Requirements for an Objection: Regardless of which method you choose, your written objection must state clearly that you are objecting to the Settlement, Fees and Expenses and/or the Settlement Class representative service awards in Gillard v. Volkswagen Group of America, Inc., Civil Action No. 4:17-cv-07287, and must include your full name, current address, and telephone number, the model, model year, and VIN of your vehicle, proof that you own(ed) or lease(d) the vehicle (e.g., a true copy of a vehicle title, registration, or license receipt), a written statement of all your factual and legal grounds for objecting, any documents and/or briefs supporting your objection, a statement of whether you intend to appear at the Final Fairness Hearing, the name, address and telephone number of any counsel representing the objector, and your signature. In addition, any Settlement Class Member objecting to the Settlement must also provide a detailed list of any other objections submitted by the objector, or the objector’s counsel, to any class action settlements in any court in the previous five (5) years, or affirmatively state that the Settlement Class Member, or his or her counsel, has not objected to any other class action Settlement in the previous five (5) years, in the written materials provided with the objection. If you intend to appear at the Final Fairness Hearing through counsel, your comment must also state the identity of all attorneys representing you who will appear at the Final Fairness Hearing.

    If you do not submit a written objection in accordance with the deadline and procedure/requirements set forth above, you will waive your right to object and be heard at the Final Fairness Hearing, and to appeal from any order or judgment of the Court concerning the matter.

  22. What is the difference between objecting and excluding myself?

    Objecting is simply telling the Court that you do not like something about the Settlement. You can only object if you stay in the Settlement Class. Excluding yourself is telling the Court that you do not want to be part of the Settlement Class and the Settlement. If you exclude yourself, you have no basis to object because the case no longer affects you and you are not entitled to any benefits that the Settlement affords.

  23. FINAL FAIRNESS HEARING

  24. When and where will the Court decide whether to approve the Settlement?

    The Court will hold a Final Fairness Hearing at 2:00 p.m. on August 18, 2022, before the Honorable Haywood S. Gilliam, United States District Judge, at the United States District Court for the Northern District of California, Courtroom 2- 4th Floor, 1301 Clay Street, Oakland CA 94612, to determine whether the Settlement is fair, reasonable, and adequate and should receive final approval. At the Final Fairness Hearing, the Court will also consider Class Counsel’s application for Fees and Expenses and a service award to the Settlement Class Representative.

  25. Do I have to Attend the Final Fairness Hearing?

    No. Class Counsel will answer any questions the Court may have. However, you are welcome to attend at your own expense. If you send an objection, you do not have to come to Court to talk about it. You may also pay your own lawyer to attend, but it is not necessary for your objection to be considered by the Court.

  26. May I speak at the Final Fairness Hearing?

    If you do not exclude yourself, you may ask the Court’s permission to speak at the Final Fairness Hearing concerning the proposed Settlement or the application of Class Counsel for Fees and Expenses and the Settlement Class Representative service award. To do so, you must send in a letter saying that it is your intention to appear at the Final Fairness Hearing in Gillard v. Volkswagen Group of America, Inc., Civil Action No. 4:17-cv-07287. The letter must state the position you intend to present at the Final Fairness Hearing, state the identities of all attorneys who will represent you (if any), and must include your full name, current address, and telephone number, the model year and VIN of your vehicle(s), and your signature. You must either send your letter by U.S. First-Class Mail to the Clerk of the Court, Class Counsel, and defense counsel at the three addresses listed under Question 16 above, postmarked no later than April 25, 2022, or file your letter with the Court either in person or on the Court’s on-line ECF docket (as specified under Question 16 above) no later than April 25, 2022. You may combine this letter and your comment or objection (described under Question 16) in a single document. You cannot speak at the Final Fairness Hearing if you excluded yourself from the Settlement.

  27. IF YOU DO NOTHING

  28. What happens if I do nothing at all?

    If you do nothing, you will be bound by the Settlement if the Court approves it.

  29. MORE INFORMATION

  30. Where can I get more information?

    For more information, please visit the Important Documents page, where you can find extra Claim Forms, a copy of the Settlement Agreement, the Preliminary Approval Order, certain applicable motions and/or court filings, other pertinent documents, and more information on this litigation and Settlement. Updates regarding the case, including important dates and deadlines, will also be available on this website. You may also contact the Claim Administrator by phone at 1-844-957-4280 or by email at info@DSGTransmissionSettlement.com.