Head of Firm’s Class Action Practice Group Honored for role in Volkswagen “Clean Diesel” MDL
LOS ANGELES – The national law firm of Baron & Budd today announced shareholder Roland Tellis has been honored with the Daily Journal’s 2018 “CLAY” award for his role on the Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee in the Volkswagen “Clean Diesel” MDL. This annual award, known as the California Lawyer Attorneys of the Year, recognizes lawyers throughout California whose achievements have a significant impact on the law, the legal profession, or a particular practice area.
The Volkswagen “Clean Diesel” case alleged that Volkswagen hired a third-party technology firm, Bosch, to secretly install a “cheat device” which would detect when the cars were undergoing official emissions testing and alter the car’s emissions. The situation is now regarded as one of the largest regulation-evading fraud schemes in history and left hundreds of thousands of consumers saddled with defective vehicles that were environmentally non-compliant.
To date, Tellis and the team of attorneys representing plaintiffs in this case, have secured settlements totaling $14.7 billion and have helped consumers secure repairs for approximately 50,000 vehicles impacted by the scheme. The settlement also required Volkswagen to buy back certain class vehicles at pre-scandal values, provide restitution payments of approximately $6,000 per class member, pay an additional $225 million to mitigate the environmental effects of excess NOx emissions and also pay $25 million to support the use of zero-emissions vehicles in California.
“The brazen and devious scheme perpetrated by Volkswagen was unbelievable. I’m incredibly impressed with the diligence, cooperation and hard work the entire team put in to ensure that this automaker was held accountable not only for defrauding consumers, but also damaging our environment,” said Tellis. “My hope is that securing such a significant settlement will serve as a lesson to other automakers and encourage more ethical behavior from this industry moving forward.”
In addition to his role on the Plaintiff’s Steering Committee in the Volkswagen case, Tellis is one of three lawyers appointed to the Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee in a multi-state class action lawsuit against Takata involving tens of millions of vehicles equipped with a defective airbag inflator. In 2017, Tellis helped to negotiate more than $1.25 billion in settlements from seven automakers related to the defective Takata airbags. Tellis was also recently named co-lead counsel in an MDL involving Wells Fargo’s improper placement of automobile insurance policies on almost 800,000 consumers.
The honor from the Daily Journal’s CLAY awards is the just the latest recognition of Tellis’ exemplary work. In August 2017, he was named to The Best Lawyers in America 2018 list, an honor he has received every year since 2013.
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