• Kirk Hartley

Germany – A Judicial Hellhole, for VW

As Professor Coffee pointed out in his new article, mass tort claiming has indeed gone global, as some of us expected. More evidence of that reality arrived with new data about $9 billion of claims through about 1,400 lawsuits –  in Germany – against VW. The numbers are from a September 21, 2016 article in the WSJ. The number of claims is 1/2 the usual annual total for the district court, so the US Chamber of Commerce doubtless will declare the court a litigation hellhole. The article introduction states the following:

“BERLIN—Investors are seeking around €8.2 billion (around $9.10 billion) in damages from Volkswagen AG on losses suffered when the German car maker’s shares plunged after U.S. authorities disclosed a year ago that the company had cheated on emissions tests, a German district court said Wednesday.

The Braunschweig district court, which has jurisdiction over Volkswagen claims in Germany, said it had received 1,400 claims against the car maker so far, including law suits filed by U.S. pension funds, asset funds from German states, and individual investors. U.S investors that are part of the German claim include CalPERS.

The court said the number of claims against Volkswagen so far was equal to half the civil claims the court usually receives in an entire year. Because lawyers aren’t allowed to file such claims electronically in Germany, the court said it had to acquire additional warehouse facilities to accommodate the massive amount of files.”

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About Kirk

Since becoming a lawyer in 1983, Kirk’s over 30 years of practice have focused on advising a wide range of corporations, associations, and individuals (as both plaintiffs and defendants) on both tort and commercial law issues centered around “mass torts.”


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