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Attorneys press Oregon VW cases as carmaker proposes emission scandal settlement

TRIBUNE PHOTO: KEVIN HARDEN - Volkswagen of America plans for a legal settlement in its 'clean diesel' emissions scandal won't stop two local attorneys from pressing ahead with more than a dozen individual claims against the German automaker.Lake Oswego attorney Tim Quenelle is waiting for the legal dust to settle before he celebrates — if you can call it that — Tuesday’s announcement by Volkswagen of America of its proposed $10 billion settlement in the German automaker’s diesel-emission scandal.

“I am impressed with Volkswagen’s ability to fess up and try to bring peace to the valley as quickly as they did,” says Quenelle, co-counsel on more than three dozen state and federal lawsuits brought by VW owners across Oregon who purchased the affected diesel models. “They’ve certainly worked very hard under immense pressure to do what probably could be the fairest thing for just about everyone involved in this.”

That doesn’t mean all of Quenelle’s clients are going to jump into the VW class-action lawsuit pool and scoop up cash and other considerations in a settlement (which still must be approved by a judge). Far from it. Quenelle and co-counsel David Sugerman of Portland are pressing ahead with their 19 state lawsuits against Volkswagen of America Inc., and their 19 federal cases (which have been lumped into the federal case pending in California).

TIM QUENELLEAny acceptable class-action settlement, Quenelle says, “has to be in the middle of a bell-shaped curve.” But individual cases, like those he and Sugerman represent, can push for more money in damages based on each VW owners’ experiences and costs.

“There are variations in each case,” he says.

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