Volkswagen's 'Voltswagen' stunt caused nothing but trouble, but automaker won't face lawsuit.

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'Voltswagen' Lawsuit Shorts Out
Volkswagen's 'Voltswagen' stunt caused nothing but trouble, but automaker won't face lawsuit.

— A Volkswagen "Voltswagen" name-change class action lawsuit is over after a plaintiff allegedly didn't timely serve Volkswagen with the summons and class action lawsuit.

The outcome of the lawsuit is another strange step that sent the plaintiffs to court in the first place following VW's failed April Fools' Day stunt.

According to the Volkswagen class action lawsuit, investors were misled when Volkswagen said it was changing its name to "Voltswagen" in honor of its move to electric vehicles.

VW plaintiff Gerald M. Montag says he purchased securities at inflated prices because of VW's stunt when it published a test press release announcing the new Voltswagen name. VW published the document on its site on March 29, 2021, but the press release had an April 29 date.

News organizations picked up the announcement even though VW quickly deleted the press release from its website.

Then VW republished the press release on March 30, this time with the correct date and entitled, “Voltswagen: A new name for a new era of e-mobility.” However, the release was removed from the site later that day.

Even the Associated Press jumped on the false story:

“The Associated Press was repeatedly assured by Volkswagen that its U.S. subsidiary planned a name change, and reported that information, which we now know to be false. We have corrected our story and published a new one based on the company’s admission. This and any deliberate release of false information hurts accurate journalism and the public good.” — Lauren Easton, AP company spokeswoman

VW said there were no changes in stock prices, a view not held by the investors who filed the class action lawsuit.

VW Class Action Lawsuit Dismissed

Judge Mark C. Scarsi appointed Betty Jo Pheiffer as lead plaintiff on July 21, 2021, then ordered Pheiffer to show cause why the class action lawsuit should not be dismissed for failure to complete service on Volkswagen within 90 days of the filing of the lawsuit.

The plaintiff responded and the judge extended the time to complete service. However, the judge says Pheiffer did not file proof of service by the extended deadline.

"Pheiffer presents no explanation, let alone a showing of excusable neglect, supporting her failure to complete service between the time the Court extended the deadline to complete service and the extended deadline. Through its orders to show cause, the Court provided Pheiffer clear warnings that it expected compliance with the deadline." — Judge Scarsi

The judge dismissed the VW class action lawsuit, without prejudice, and told the clerk to close the case.

The VW class action lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California: Gerald M. Montag v. Volkswagen AG, et al.

The plaintiff is represented by the Rosen Law Firm.


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