German Lawsuit Hopes to Follow US Lead on VW Class-Action Settlements

Volkswagen may see its recovery costs from the diesel car emissions scandal climb higher from a potential class-action lawsuit filed in Germany.

German lawyers for U.S. law firm Hausfeld have filed the suit for one car owner that’s been designed to follow what’s worked in U.S. courtrooms, according to Jan-Eike Andresen of legal-tech website The legal portal is supporting these efforts.

The site allows VW car owners to sign up online without taking on the financial risks plaintiffs usually fall under Germany’s legal structure. The law firm has also been working with litigation fund Burford Capital.

The website promises car owners “up to 5,000 euros” ($5,200) in damages or to make VW buy back the vehicle.

The Hausfeld firm and declined to say how many people signed up, or to reveal the total value of potential claims.

The new lawsuit is unfounded, said VW spokesman Nicolai Laude in an emailed statement. Owners won’t have any problems once the diesel car is fixed, he said.

VW agreed in June to a recall with Germany’s KBA motor vehicle authority of 800,000 diesel cars fitted with emissions cheat software.

European consumer groups have been upset to see VW make its $10 billion settlement in the U.S. where American car owners can receive up to $10,000 in reimbursement. The German automaker claims the rules are different in Europe, and repairing the engine takes care of the problem.

That’s certainly not the case for Andresen.

“VW has defrauded car owners for years,” Andresen said. “VW delivered nothing on what they promised to do to mend the issue.”

There have been about a thousand owners of VW group diesel vehicles that have sued the automaker or car dealers, out of 2.5 million German buyers of these affected vehicles. Only about a quarter of the suits have been successful, and VW and its dealers have been making settlements.

The consumer case isn’t the only trouble facing VW, which is the target of 1,400 investor lawsuits filed in Braunschweig over the issue seeking a combined 8 billion euros ($8.3 billion).

My-Right is hoping to see a settlement for the whole group, or potentially for all European consumers. The case is based on European Union laws, and the law firms is seeking a ruling that would have jurisdiction across the region and not just Germany.

[source: Automotive News]

This article first appeared on