Would-Be Volkswagen Whistleblower Suddenly Drops Lawsuit

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
would be volkswagen whistleblower suddenly drops lawsuit

A former Volkswagen employee who claimed he was fired when the company discovered his plan to report it for obstruction of justice has dropped his lawsuit.

Daniel Donovan, an information manager working for Volkswagen’s data center in Auburn Hills, Michigan, withdrew the suit on June 9, according to the New York Times. Donovan had claimed he tried to prevent the destruction of documents related to the diesel emissions scandal.

The now-evaporated suit stated that Donovan began flagging data deletions made by a co-worker that started on September 18, 2015, the same day the scandal became public.

News of Donovan’s climbdown is only emerging now, and neither the former employee or the company will admit to why. Both parties refused to say whether a monetary deal was reached, but the timing is interesting.

Volkswagen, which still denies the claims made by Donovan, reached a settlement with U.S. lawmakers and owners of 2.0-liter TDI models earlier this week. The $15.3 billion it pledged to spend will get the automaker out of trouble with regulators, clients, 44 states and even the environment.

Registering an “11” on the suspicion meter is the fact that the statements obtained by the Times from Donovan’s lawyer and Volkswagen are spitting images of each other.

“(Donovan) has now voluntarily dismissed the complaint and has agreed to cooperate fully with the company’s internal investigations,” the letters read. “The matter has been resolved amicably to the satisfaction of all of the parties.”

It sounds like Volkswagen was very eager to put the diesel scandal behind it, and avoid a lengthy, headline-generating trial. The trouble isn’t over for the company, though. Besides having to fix or buy back the 11 million diesel vehicles involved in the scandal, not to mention the likelihood of further fines and lawsuits, the company’s brand chief and ex-CEO are under investigation by German prosecutors.

It isn’t known whether the Donovan case is related to reports that a Volkswagen manager implicitly told employees to delete defeat device evidence in August 2015, shortly before the scandal became public.

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  • Moderators Kyree, Adam and Mark Stevenson: industry insiders look at TTAC to inform themselves on the fickle whims of the public or to gauge what the current climate is on various topics. They look to the comments section as well, it's a reflection of the site's health and status. Sometimes insights can be gleaned from the commentariat that otherwise would not appear even in well researched articles - see NGNOM's comment on "NHTSA Investigating Tesla Model S Following Fatal ‘Autopilot’ Crash" for an OUTSTANDING example of expert commentary that elevates a site above its peers. Commentary that is on-topic and insightful is the goal. A rabble of political dissension is not. It's actually a train wreck and a black eye for your site's professionalism. If you think this trend will magically dissipate come election day Nov 8th 2016, it won't. Do. Something.

    • Old Man Pants Old Man Pants on Jul 01, 2016

      "industry insiders look at TTAC to inform themselves on the fickle whims of the public or to gauge what the current climate is on various topics" I call horse feathers. If that were true we'd have larger greenhouses and column shifters back by now. And no more dubs.

  • Mtmmo Mtmmo on Jul 01, 2016

    Very disappointing to see the covert racism being conducted against BTSR by Piston Slap and Vogo. I'm as liberal as they come (lifelong Democrat) and maybe agree with BTSR a 1/3 of the time but I would never suggest silencing him or anyone else just because they hold a different opinion. I've seen this Leftist-esk mentality all too often in my own party and it's rooted in racism. There's just something about a Black Conservative that threatens White Leftists. The response is always the same: We must silence him/her because me the White Leftist is far superior in intellect so how dare a person of color have a conservative/difference of opinion. TTAC has a great diverse board because of folks like BTSR and it should stay that way. The others (you know who you are) need to drop your covert white leftist privilege.

    • See 9 previous
    • Drzhivago138 Drzhivago138 on Jul 03, 2016

      @David "Piston Slap Yo Mama" Sanborn It's "segues."

  • Paul Mezhir As awful as the styling was on these cars, they were beautifully assembled and extremely well finished for the day. The doors closed solidly, the ride was extremely quiet and the absence of squeaks and rattles was commendable. As for styling? Everything's beautiful in it's own way.....except for the VI coupe....it's proportions were just odd: the passenger compartment and wheelbase seemed to be way too short, especially compared to the VI sedan. Even the short-lived Town Coupe had much better proportions. None of the fox-body Lincolns could compare to the beautiful proportions of the Mark V.....it was the epitome of long, low, sleek and elegant. The proportions were just about perfect from every angle.
  • ToolGuy Silhouetting yourself on a ridge like that is an excellent way to get yourself shot ( Skylining)."Don't you know there's a special military operation on?"
  • ToolGuy When Farley says “like the Millennium Falcon” he means "fully updatable" and "constantly improving" -- it's right there in the Car and Driver article (and makes perfect sense).
  • Master Baiter New slogan in the age of Ford EVs:FoundOnRoadDischarged
  • Albert Also owned a 1959 Continental Mark IV coupe for 20 years and loved every minute!