Volkswagen is facing $9.2 billion in damages from 1,400 lawsuits filed by investors in Germany over the company’s actions in connection with the Dieselgate scandal. Shares of Volkswagen stock have plummeted by about one-third since news of the company’s emissions cheating with VW and Audi diesel models was revealed in September 2015.
The German lawsuits against Volkswagen allege that investors in the company lost money because the automaker was slow to disclose its actions regarding the emissions cheating scandal. Officials stated that the total number of investor lawsuits filed over the Dieselgate scandal was equivalent to about half of the total number of cases that the court receives in one year.
German court officials said that out of the 1,400 investor lawsuits filed against VW in Germany, about 750 were filed on the day before one year anniversary of the Dieselgate scandal. Experts say that many plaintiffs may have been trying to prevent Volkswagen from challenging their claims by filing before the one year deadline. However, because German law was amended last year to allow investors to file lawsuits up to three years later, legal experts say that additional investor lawsuits may still be filed against Volkswagen as late as September 2018.
Volkswagen investors were able to file the lawsuits against the company in Germany following a ruling in German courts last year that the litigation would be allowed to move forward. Because the German legal system contains no equivalent of the U.S. class action litigation process, the German investor lawsuits against VW will be handled in a manner similar to bellwether trials, in which a few claims are tried and used to form the basis of settlement negotiations.
Fallout from the VW Dieselgate Scandal
Last year, Volkswagen admitted that it had installed a “defeat device” on 11 million VW and Audi “TDI Clean Diesel” models worldwide. This defeat device made the cars appear to emit significantly lower levels of greenhouse gas emissions than the cars actually released. Former VW employees have stated that the emissions cheating occurred because of the “cutthroat culture” instituted by the automaker in its efforts to become the world’s leading automotive manufacturer.
The vehicles involved in the Dieselgate scandal include the 2009-2015 Audi A3 TDI, the 2016 Audi A6 Quattro, the 2016 Audi A7 Quattro, the 2016 Audi A8, the 2016 Audi A8L, the 2016 Audi Q5, the 2009-2015 Volkswagen Beetle TDI, the 2009-2015 Volkswagen Golf TDI, the 2009-2015 Volkswagen Jetta TDI, the 2012-2015 Volkswagen Passat TDI, and the 2014 Volkswagen Touareg.
The $9.2 billion in investor lawsuits filed against VW is the largest commercial litigation case in German history. In July 2016, Volkswagen agreed to pay $15 billion to settle some lawsuits filed in the U.S. by VW and Audi diesel owners – also the largest automotive litigation settlement in U.S. history. Volkswagen is still facing potentially criminal charges from U.S. investigators over the Dieselgate emissions cheating by the company and its executives and engineers.
Volkswagen Owners May Qualify to Take Legal Action
Drivers who purchased or leased a Volkswagen, Audi, or Porsche diesel model involved in the VW emissions cheating scandal may be eligible to take legal action. The first step determining whether you may be eligible to file a case is to consult with a law firm that can advise you regarding your legal options and help guide you through the process of filing a case.
If you purchased or leased one of the VW or Audi diesel-powered vehicles involved in the Dieselgate scandal, contact the lawyers at Heygood, Orr & Pearson to learn more about whether you qualify to file a lawsuit. For a free legal consultation about your case, please contact us by calling toll-free at 1-877-446-9001. You can also reach us by following the link to our free case evaluation form and answering a few simple questions to get started.
Case results depend upon a variety of factors unique to each case. Results of other cases do not guarantee or predict a similar result in any future case.