Lawsuits after 2018 are likely to be statute barred

In the diesel scandal, not all VW customers are likely to be entitled to compensation. In order to have a chance of success, those affected must have filed a lawsuit early enough.

Diesel owners who already knew in 2015 that their car was affected by the VW emissions scandal could no longer sue Volkswagen from 2019. The Federal Court of Justice (BGH) assumes that in these cases the statute of limitations came into effect at the end of 2018, as became apparent on Monday in the negotiation of a model case in Karlsruhe. The verdict was to be pronounced on another day, but “at short notice”. (Az. VI ZR 739/20)

The car buyer, who would basically meet the requirements for a claim for damages against Volkswagen, had only filed a lawsuit with the Stuttgart district court in 2019. The diesel scandal was exposed in autumn 2015. The statutory limitation period runs three years from the end of the year, exceptions are rarely possible.

According to VW, around 9,000 proceedings are still pending, in which a lawsuit was not brought until 2019 or 2020. However, it is not in all of these cases – as is the case here – that the plaintiffs already knew in 2015 that their car was affected. The presiding judge Stephan Seiters therefore announced on Monday another procedure, which should then be decisive for the other constellations.


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