The First District Appellate Court upheld a lower court’s summary judgment for Audi AG and its parent, Volkswagen AG, in a class action pending for over 25 years alleging the Audi 5000 unintendedly accelerated. The case was filed in 1987, shortly after the CBS “60 Minutes” television show featured the Audi 5000 in a bad light – a program for which CBS’s journalistic integrity came under harsh criticism. Johnson & Bell attorneys handled the case for the last 10 years. Johnson & Bell succeeded in limiting the number of individual plaintiffs, eliminating numerous defect allegations, and obtaining an order limiting the class to an Illinois only class. After six weeks of evidentiary hearings at which all experts retained by either party testified, the court struck all of the plaintiff’s experts and entered summary judgment for the defendants. (Ironically, while Audi was awaiting the ruling of the Illinois Circuit Court, Toyota announced that it had reached a $2.5 billion settlement of the class unintended acceleration claims made against it.) Johnson & Bell Shareholders, James K. Toohey and Garrett L. Boehm, Jr., obtained summary judgment in the Circuit Court and secured affirmance of summary judgment before the Appellate Court.
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