I should have been a lawyer. Or, perhaps more specifically, I should have worked very hard to become a lawyer representing US Volkswagen owners in their efforts to pin the German automaker to the wall for its diesel malfeasance. Why, you may ask? Because it would have made me rich as hell, based on how much those lawyers asked Volkswagen to pony up.
While an agreement has yet to be placed in stone, the lawyers asked Volkswagen to cover legal fees to the tune of $332.5 million. $324 million is for the legal fees, with $8.5 million set aside to cover additional costs, Reuters reports.
In the weird, twisted world of law, this is actually a paltry sum. The lead lawyer for the case, Elizabeth Cabraser, wrote in the filing that the typical legal-fee request for class action lawsuits is 25 percent of the settlement amount. Had they requested that much, the lawyers could have earned more than $3.5 billion for their work. Good lord.
Volkswagen will be paying these fees out of a separate fund not related to the settlement itself. A judge still needs to approve this request. VW did not immediately return a request for comment, but it told Reuters that it will pay costs that "reasonably reflect" the effort put forth.
The automaker will pay out about $15 billion for selling about half a million over-polluting diesels in the US. The settlement includes a buyback program with the option to have the car repaired, and several billion dollars will end up in an environmental remediation fund. The settlement has received preliminary approval thus far, and a final approval hearing is set for October.