Economy & Politics

Diesel judgment: VW has illusions

Claus Goldenstein (lawyer of the plaintiff, l.) And Herbert Gilbert (plaintiff) can be happy: The BGH judges that VW buyers have to compensate manipulated vehiclesimago images / Gutschalk

As soon as the chairman of the BGH judge Stephan Seiters announced his verdict against VW, the group tweeted: “The BGH judgment is a final point”. The facts can hardly be twisted more beautifully. Because today’s decision of the Federal Court of Justice rather means that “the diesel scandal is only really starting now”, at least that’s how it sees attorney Claus Goldenstein, whose law firm has brought the case to the highest court and represents around 21,000 clients in the diesel scandal.

The plaintiff’s lawyer Marco Rogert from the law firm Rogert & Ulbrich is also certain that the flood of lawsuits against VW and other car manufacturers will now increase massively. The judgment will also have a signal effect on the manipulated cars of other vehicle manufacturers, because almost all car manufacturers have integrated illegal shutdown devices in their diesel vehicles.

Because with the judgment it is finally and finally decided that VW deliberately misled its illegal shutdown facility – and that the customer suffered massive damage as a result. VW had contested this for four and a half years and generally doubted the damage to customers. Individual courts had repeatedly followed this argument, primarily in Braunschweig, the VW headquarters. Customer after customer, regional court for regional court and the higher regional courts had to laboriously examine the disputes again and again, with different results.

VW has to dig deeper

It is now clear that a customer who has bought a diesel vehicle with illegal exhaust technology, regardless of whether it is a new or used car, has the right to have the purchase contract processed and a refund of the purchase price. Only here was there a small damper on the Supreme Court. VW may deduct usage compensation for the kilometers driven. The plaintiffs had considered this incompatible with VW’s immoral behavior.

For VW, the compensation in Germany and Europe could now become dramatically more expensive. So far, VW has concluded around 100,000 individual comparisons. Added to this are the approximately 200,000 consumers from the model fortress lawsuit, to whom VW has offered compensation. In view of the approximately two million victims who have not yet filed a complaint, it is hardly worth mentioning. In view of the BGH judgment, one or the other should re-evaluate his chances: In addition, the BGH will probably make two further important decisions in July. It is about so-called tortious interest and the limitation periods. It is conceivable that VW has to pay the plaintiff a kind of penalty interest of four percent on the gross purchase price of the car from the date of purchase and that the damage is by no means barred.

But today’s judgment is extremely important for one reason. VW chief Diess and chairman of the supervisory board Pötsch had just eluded a cash payment process. The Braunschweig public prosecutor’s office had initiated criminal proceedings against both of them for prohibited market manipulation. A deal with flavors that raises questions about a clean legal review of the diesel scandal. You don’t need more Persil notes for VW.


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