Frequently Asked Questions
- What is the notice about?
- What is this lawsuit about?
- What is a class action?
- Why have the parties settled?
- Who is included in the settlement?
- What if I am not sure I am included in the settlement?
- What does the settlement provide?
- What benefits are available?
- How do I get benefits?
- How will claims be decided?
- Do I need to do anything to receive a cash benefit from the settlement?
- What am I giving up as part of the settlement?
- How do I exclude myself from the settlement?
- Do I have a lawyer in this case?
- How will class counsel and the class representatives be paid?
- How do I tell the Court that I do not like the settlement?
- When and where will the Court decide whether to approve the settlement?
- Do I have to attend the hearing?
- May I speak at the hearing?
- What happens if I do nothing?
- How do I get more information?
- I believe I am part of the California SPI Subclass and my Notice says I am in the Nationwide PI Subclass.
What is the notice about?
The purpose of the notice and this website is to inform you about the terms of the settlement and your rights and obligations as a settlement class Member so you can make an informed decision to participate in, object to, or opt out of the settlement. The parties are currently seeking judicial approval of their settlement in the Superior Court of California, Contra Costa County. The Court has granted preliminary approval of the settlement. The Court has also approved the form and content of the notice and the parties’ plan to notify the settlement class members of the settlement. After the settlement class members decide to participate in, object to, or opt out of the settlement, the Court will decide whether to grant final approval of the settlement.Back To Top
What is this lawsuit about?
This class action lawsuit arose from an alleged data security incident involving the personal information of certain current and former Volkswagen and Audi customers and prospective customers. The customer data involved includes two general types of information: (1) sensitive personal information (SPI), which is generally considered to be more sensitive in nature, such as Social Security numbers and driver's license numbers, and (2) personal information (PI), which is generally considered to be less sensitive in nature, such as names, addresses and email addresses. The lawsuit was filed against Volkswagen, Audi, and Shift Digital by named plaintiffs Ricardo Villalobos, John Hajny, Anthony Service and Jeremy Adams, individually and on behalf of a class of other customers and prospective customers potentially affected by the data security incident. The named plaintiffs raise five legal claims against one or more of the Defendants in connection with the alleged failure to properly secure the PI and SPI at issue: (1) negligence; (2) breach of implied contract; (3) violation of the California Consumer Privacy Act, California Civil Code § 1798.150; (4) violation of the California Unfair Competition Law - Unlawful and Unfair Business Practices, California Business & Professions Code § 17200, et seq.; and (5) breach of contracts to which Plaintiffs and the class are third-party beneficiaries. The Defendants deny all of the plaintiffs’ allegations of wrongdoing and disclaim all liability with respect to all claims.Back To Top
What is a class action?
A class action is a type of lawsuit in which one or more plaintiffs, known as named plaintiffs or class representatives, sue on behalf of themselves and a group of similarly situated persons, known as the “class.” Although class members do not participate directly in the lawsuit, class members may be entitled to money or other relief if the lawsuit is successful. Class members are also bound by the judgment in the case, which means that they cannot file their own individual lawsuits if they choose to remain part of the class.
Ricardo Villalobos, John Hajny, Anthony Service and Jeremy Adams are the Named Plaintiff s in this lawsuit, and the settlement class is composed of persons residing in the United States to whom Volkswagen and/or Audi sent notice in June 2021 thattheir PI or SPI may have been exposed as a result of the data security incident.Back To Top
Why have the parties settled?
The parties have agreed to settle because they believe it is in the best interests of the named plaintiffs, the Defendants, and the class. Further litigation carries significant risk and imposes substantial costs on both sides. By agreeing to settle, the parties avoid this uncertainty and additional expense. Furthermore, an early resolution allows class members to receive compensation more promptly. The named plaintiffs and their attorneys believe the settlement is fair, reasonable, and adequate and that final approval of the settlement is in the best interests of the class.Back To Top
Who is included in the settlement?
You are included in the settlement if you reside in the United States and were sent notice by Volkswagen and/or Audi that your information may have been exposed as a result of the data security incident. If you are a member of the settlement class, you should have already received a notice of the settlement from the settlement administrator by mail or email. That notice included a unique code and PIN for you to verify your identity to receive certain settlement benefits described in the notice. If for some reason you have not received a unique code and PIN, but believe you are a settlement class member, please call 866-329-0166 to verify your identity and receive further information.
The settlement class is composed of three subclasses. Each settlement class member belongs to only one subclass. The California SPI Subclass consists of settlement class members residing in California at the time of the data security incident to whom Volkswagen and/or Audi sent notice that their SPI may have been exposed as a result of the incident. The Nationwide SPI Subclass consists of settlement class members residing in the United States (but not California) at the time of the data security incident to whom Volkswagen and/or Audi sent notice that their SPI may have been exposed as a result of the incident. The Nationwide PI Subclass consists of settlement class members residing in the United States at the time of the data security incident to whom Volkswagen and/or Audi sent notice that their PI may have been exposed as a result of the incident. The subclass to which you belong determines the benefits to which you are entitled under the settlement. Your subclass was identified in the emailed or mailed notice you received telling you about the settlement.
Specifically excluded from the settlement class are settlement class members who timely and validly request exclusion from the settlement class (for more information about requesting exclusion see FAQ 13).Back To Top
What if I am not sure I am included in the settlement?
If you are not sure you are included in the settlement or the class, or have any other questions related to the settlement, you may contact the settlement administrator by phone at 866-329-0166 or by email at info@AudiDataSettlement.com. You may also write a letter to the settlement administrator at Volkswagen/Audi Data Incident Litigation Settlement Administrator, P.O. Box 3637, Portland, OR 97208-3637. Please do not contact the Court with questions.Back To Top
What does the settlement provide?
To fully settle and release the claims of the settlement class members related to the data security incident, Defendants have agreed to pay $3.5 million into a settlement fund, which will be used to pay (1) settlement awards to settlement class members, as described in response to FAQ 8 below; (2) settlement administration expenses; (3) an award to class counsel for their reasonable attorneys’ fees and costs; and (4) service awards for the named plaintiffs. In addition, Shift Digital has agreed to implement and maintain certain measures to further secure the personal information in its possession.Back To Top
What monetary benefits are available?
All settlement class members are eligible for monetary awards from the settlement fund. There are two types of awards: (1) cash payments, and (2) reimbursement for out‑of‑pocket losses. California SPI and Nationwide SPI Subclass members may file claims for either cash payments or for reimbursement for out-of-pocket losses, but not for both.
Cash Payments: All settlement class members are eligible for cash payments. The amount of the cash payment depends on the subclass to which the settlement class member belongs. California SPI Subclass members are eligible to receive cash payments of $350. Nationwide SPI members are eligible to receive cash payments of $80. Nationwide PI Subclass members are eligible to receive cash payments of $20. All payment amounts listed above are subject to an upward or downward proration based on how much money is available to disburse settlement awards and the number of valid claims filed. The proration of cash payments is set forth in greater detail in the Settlement Agreement.
Reimbursement for out-of-pocket losses: Members of the California SPI Subclass and Nationwide SPI Subclass are eligible for reimbursement for out‑of‑pocket losses up to $5,000 per person. Examples of out‑of‑pocket losses include: (1) unreimbursed costs, expenses, losses, or charges incurred as a result of identity theft or identity fraud, falsified tax returns, or other possible misuse of settlement class members’ SPI; (2) costs associated with accessing or freezing/unfreezing credit reports with any credit reporting agency; (3) other miscellaneous expenses incurred related to any out‑of‑pocket loss such as notary, fax, postage, copying, mileage, and long‑distance telephone charges; and (4) unpaid time off work to address issues fairly traceable to the data security incident at the actual hourly rate of that settlement class member (i.e., hourly wage or annual salary divided by estimated number of hours worked per year), up to $50 per hour, for up to four hours. To be reimbursable, out‑of‑pocket losses must be fairly traceable to the data security incident and require documentation.Back To Top
How do I get benefits?
If you wanted to receive a monetary award from the settlement, you had to submit a valid claim on or before April 12, 2023. No more claims are being accepted.Back To Top
How will claims be decided?
The settlement administrator will initially decide whether the information provided on a claim form is complete and valid. The settlement administrator may request additional information from any claimant. If the required information is not provided on a timely basis, the claim will be considered invalid and will not be paid.Back To Top
Do I need to do anything to receive a cash benefit from the settlement?
If you wanted to receive a monetary award from the settlement, you had to submit a valid claim on or before April 12, 2023. If you did nothing, you will remain in the settlement class but you will not receive the settlement benefits.Back To Top
What am I giving up as part of the settlement?
If the settlement becomes effective and you do not opt out, you will give up your right to bring your own lawsuit against certain parties for any claims related to the data security incident. The specific persons and entities who you are giving up claims against are described in Paragraph 3.30 of the Settlement Agreement. The specific claims you are giving up are described in Paragraphs 3.29 and 3.42 of the Settlement Agreement. The Settlement Agreement is available here. The Settlement Agreement describes the released parties and Released Claims in detail, so read it carefully. If you have any questions, you may talk to the attorneys listed in FAQ 14 for free. Alternatively, you may talk to your personal attorney at your own expense.
If you do not want to participate in the settlement and want to preserve the right to bring your own lawsuit against Audi, Volkswagen, and/or Shift Digital regarding the data security incident, then you must take steps to exclude yourself from the settlement class. This is sometimes referred to as “opting out” of the settlement class.Back To Top
How do I exclude myself from the settlement?
The deadline for submitting a written request for exclusion from the settlement was March 13, 2023. If you did not submit a timely exclusion, you have given up any right to bring your own lawsuit against Defendants and related parties for the claims the settlement resolves.Back To Top
Do I have a lawyer in this case?
The Court has appointed the following attorneys as class counsel:
Rachele R. Byrd
WOLF HALDENSTEIN ADLER FREEMAN & HERZ LLP
750 B Street
San Diego, California 92101
Gayle M. Blatt
CASEY GERRY SCHENK FRANCAVILLA BLATT & PENFIELD, LLP
110 Laurel Street
San Diego, California 92101
M. Anderson Berry
CLAYEO C. ARNOLD A PROFESSIONAL LAW CORP.
865 Howe Avenue
Sacramento, CA 95825
Karen Hanson Riebel
LOCKRIDGE GRINDAL NAUEN P.L.L.P
100 Washington Ave S.
Minneapolis, MN 55401
As class counsel, these attorneys represent the settlement class. You will not be individually charged for these lawyers. If you decide to exclude yourself from the settlement, then class counsel will no longer represent you. If you decide to object to the settlement, class counsel will not represent you for purposes of your objection. If you want to be represented by your own lawyer, you may hire one at your own expense.Back To Top
How will class counsel and the class representatives be paid?
The Settlement Agreement does not provide for a specific amount to be paid to class counsel but does allow class counsel to request—and the Court to award—reasonable attorneys’ fees and costs. Class counsel will request an award of no more than $1.05 million in fees and $50,000 in costs. The Court will then decide whether to award attorneys’ fees and costs and if so, how much. If the Court decides to award attorneys’ fees and costs, they will be paid out of the settlement fund.
Class counsel will also request that the Court award $5,000 to each of the named plaintiffs to compensate them for the time and burdens of serving as class representatives. If the Court approves these service awards, they will be paid out of the settlement fund.Back To Top
How do I tell the Court that I do not like the settlement?
The deadline to submit a written objection to the settlement was March 13, 2023. If you did not submit a written objection, you may still object by attending the Final Approval Hearing.Back To Top
THE FINAL APPROVAL HEARING
The Court will hold a hearing to decide whether to grant final approval of the settlement and to determine whether to award attorneys’ fees and costs to class counsel and service awards to the class representatives, and if so, in what amounts.
When and where will the Court decide whether to approve the settlement?
The Court will hold a Final Approval Hearing at 9:00 a.m. on May 18, 2023, in Department 39, 725 Court Street, Martinez, CA 94553. The details for attending the Final Approval Hearing can be found on the home page of this website. You do not need to attend this hearing to receive benefits from the settlement. The hearing may be moved to a different date or time without additional notice, so it is a good idea to keep checking this website or calling 866-329-0166 to stay up to date.
At this hearing, the Court will consider whether the settlement is fair, reasonable, and adequate. The Court will consider any written objections and will listen to any objectors who attend the hearing and wish to speak. The Court will also consider class counsel’s request for an award of attorneys’ fees and costs, as well as the request for service awards for the class representatives. After the hearing, the Court will decide whether to approve the settlement and the awards. We do not know how long the Court will take to make these decisions.Back To Top
Do I have to attend the hearing?
No. Class counsel will present the settlement to the Court. You or your own lawyer are welcome to attend at your own expense, but you are not required to do so. If you submitted a timely written objection by March 13, 2023, then the Court will consider it even if you do not attend the hearing. If you have an objection but did not submit it in writing, then you may state your objection at the hearing.Back To Top
May I speak at the hearing?
You may speak at the Final Approval Hearing if you wish to object to the settlement.Back To Top
What happens if I do nothing?
If you do nothing, you will not receive any monetary benefits from the settlement. If the Court grants approval of the settlement and the judgment becomes final, you will not be able to bring your own lawsuit against the Defendants or other related parties in connection with the data security incident.Back To Top
How do I get more information?
The notice and this website only provides a summary of the proposed settlement. You are encouraged to review the complete details of the settlement, which can be found in the Settlement Agreement available here You also may send written questions to the settlement administrator at info@AudiDataSettlement.com, or call the toll-free number, 866-329-0166.
Again, the important deadlines are:
Last day to opt out of the settlement class or object to the settlement: March 13, 2023Back To Top
Last day to electronically submit or postmark a claim form: April 12, 2023
Final Approval Hearing: May 18, 2023
I believe I am part of the California SPI Subclass and my Notice says I am in the Nationwide PI Subclass.
The subclass to which a particular Settlement Class Member belongs is determined by two factors: (1) the Settlement Class Member’s state of residence at the time of the Incident, and (2) the sensitivity of the information potentially exposed in the Incident.
The California SPI Subclass consists of Settlement Class Members residing in California at the time of the Incident to whom Volkswagen and/or Audi sent notice that their sensitive personal information (“SPI”) may have been exposed as a result of the Incident. SPI is defined as the following types of personal information: driver’s license numbers, Social Security numbers, credit or debit card numbers, bank account or routing numbers, social insurance numbers, dates of birth, and/or tax identification numbers. Settlement Class Members who reside in California or purchased a vehicle in California at the time of the Incident are not necessarily members of the California SPI Subclass.
If you live in California but received notice that you are in the Nationwide PI Subclass, that means the above-described sensitive information was not subject to potential exposure in the Incident, and you are properly designated as a member of the Nationwide PI Subclass. To qualify for the California SPI Subclass, Volkswagen and/or Audi must have sent you a notice that your SPI may have been exposed as a result of the Incident while you resided in California.
If you believe the sensitivity of the information potentially exposed in the Incident or your state of residence at the time of the Incident is incorrect, please write to Settlement Administrator, Volkswagen/Audi Data Incident Litigation, P.O. Box 3637, Portland, OR 97208-3637 and include supporting documentation, such as the notice letter you received from Volkswagen and/or Audi.Back To Top