Judge approves Volkswagen’s $15B emissions settlement

FILE - In this Thursday, April 21, 2016, file photo, Joyce Ertel Hulbert, owner of a 2015 Volkswagen Golf TDI, holds a sign while interviewed outside of the Phillip Burton Federal Building in San Francisco. A federal judge in San Francisco is facing a deadline on whether to approve a nearly $15 billion deal over Volkswagen's emissions cheating scandal that gives most affected car owners the option of having the company buy back their vehicles. U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer said at a hearing last week that he was strongly inclined to give the deal final approval and would issue a ruling by Tuesday, Oct. 25, 2016. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu, File)
FILE - In this Thursday, April 21, 2016, file photo, Joyce Ertel Hulbert, owner of a 2015 Volkswagen Golf TDI, holds a sign while interviewed outside of the Phillip Burton Federal Building in San Francisco. A federal judge in San Francisco is facing a deadline on whether to approve a nearly $15 billion deal over Volkswagen's emissions cheating scandal that gives most affected car owners the option of having the company buy back their vehicles. U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer said at a hearing last week that he was strongly inclined to give the deal final approval and would issue a ruling by Tuesday, Oct. 25, 2016. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu, File)

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A federal judge in San Francisco has approved a $15 billion court settlement of most claims against Volkswagen for its emissions-cheating scandal.

U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer signed the order Tuesday approving the largest auto-scandal settlement in the nation’s history.

About 475,000 owners of VWs and Audis with 2-liter four-cylinder diesel engines now will be able to seek buybacks of their vehicles starting next Tuesday.

Most of the owners are expected to sell their cars back to VW after the company acknowledged cheating on emissions testing and putting dirty cars on the road. In addition to having their cars bought back, owners can each get cash payments of $5,100 to $10,000.

FILE - In this Oct. 13, 2015, file photo, a Volkswagen Touareg diesel is tested in the Environmental Protection Agency's cold temperature test facility in Ann Arbor, Mich. A federal judge in San Francisco is facing a deadline on whether to approve a nearly $15 billion deal over Volkswagen's emissions cheating scandal that gives most affected car owners the option of having the company buy back their vehicles. U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer said at a hearing last week that he was strongly inclined to give the deal final approval and would issue a ruling by Tuesday, Oct. 25, 2016. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio, File)
FILE – In this Oct. 13, 2015, file photo, a Volkswagen Touareg diesel is tested in the Environmental Protection Agency’s cold temperature test facility in Ann Arbor, Mich. A federal judge in San Francisco is facing a deadline on whether to approve a nearly $15 billion deal over Volkswagen’s emissions cheating scandal that gives most affected car owners the option of having the company buy back their vehicles. U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer said at a hearing last week that he was strongly inclined to give the deal final approval and would issue a ruling by Tuesday, Oct. 25, 2016. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio, File)

“The settlement is fair, reasonable and adequate,” Breyer wrote in his order, posted Tuesday morning by the court.

VW will pay attorney fees and costs, including up to $324 million in fees and $8.5 million in out-of-pocket costs.

The settlement releases legal claims from most of the 2-liter VW owners, but it doesn’t affect larger 3-liter six-cylinder diesels, which also cheated on tests. The settlement also doesn’t end any claims against parts supplier Robert Bosch, which drew up the cheating software.

The order says that 336,612 owners of 2-liter diesels have registered for the settlement and 3,298 have opted out.

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