Count on plaintiffs lawyers to make sure no corporate crisis goes to waste.
Volkswagen's recent, alleged transgressions violated U.S. Government pollution standards. Software installed on its "clean diesel" vehicles apparently was crafted to beat emissions tests, all the while keeping car performance high.
Volkswagen's software offended environmental regulators, but it actually benefited drivers, who got better fuel efficiency. They could spend less to drive farther.
But not so fast.
Some among us have other motives for buying a car, namely community perception of one's environmental consciousness.
Such motives are the basis for a class action filed against Volkswagen by Charleston's Bailey & Gasser.
Enter plaintiff Jennifer Kerwood of Medford in suburban Boston, who claims she wanted to buy a diesel car that would pass emissions tests in flying colors, not give her better gas mileage.
Kerwood said she and her husband bought their Jetta TDI in 2010 because they thought it was better for the environment.
"The Kerwoods live a 'green' lifestyle, are environmentally conscious, and bought this vehicle believing that it was better for the environment than gasoline powered cars," the complaint states.
This dubious argument conveniently forms the basis for "economic damages," suggesting green-worshiping folk such as the Kerwoods "lost money" due to the installing of the offending "clean diesel" software.
It also enables Bailey & Gasser to sue Volkswagen, officially capitalizing on this scandal for themselves. Such is the world in which we live.
But when plaintiff's lawyers collect millions or more in fees for doing us this pleasure, don't be jealous.
Think about the feelings of the Kerwoods.
How they must of felt when the news broke that they were emitting more from their Jetta than they previously thought.
How embarrassing it must have been to drive that Jetta around Medford, amidst more environmentally-conscious friends.
Millions for their lawyers? It's a small price for the rest of us to pay.