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German court opens hearings on consumer suit against VW

by Ace Damon
Volkswagen

The Associated Press

Published Monday, September 30, 2019 6:50

Last updated Monday, September 30, 2019 9:05

BERLIN [Reuters] – A German court filed a lawsuit on Monday in a landmark case in which some 470,000 consumers are seeking to set up Volkswagen's compensation right for cars affected by the company's diesel emissions scandal.

The case, presented by the Federation of German Consumer Organizations on behalf of hundreds of thousands of diesel owners, uses rules enacted last year that allow a form of collective action.

The new system was driven in part by the scandal over Volkswagen's use of software to disable emissions controls when vehicles were not being tested, which was discovered in 2015.

Braunschweig state court declared the case admissible when the case was filed, the dpa news agency reported, but suggested that the plaintiffs have a lot of work to do to prove their case.

Chief Judge Michael Neef suggested that both sides might consider a deal, saying "a deal is very difficult but possible." Volkswagen said it is hard to imagine in this case.

Neef said his court should consider whether vehicle owners have suffered damage due to their own emissions reduction software or bans imposed after driving older diesel cars in some areas. Cars continued to be used in most cases, he noted.

The Braunschweig procedures, which include cars manufactured by the Volkswagen, Audi, Seat and Skoda brands equipped with EA 189 diesel engines that were purchased after November 1, 2008 and subsequently affected by a recall, should only determine whether the company acted illegally. If the court decides this was the case, clients will have to seek compensation in a separate case.

In a separate case, prosecutors last week announced charges of market manipulation against Volkswagen CEO Herbert Diess and Chairman Hans Dieter Poetsch, as well as former CEO Martin Winterkorn, arguing that they deliberately informed the markets too late. about the huge costs to the company. result of the scandal.

Volkswagen rejects the allegations and supports Diess and Poetsch.

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