Lawsuits triggered by the Volkswagen emissions case

30-05-2016

In September 2015, the United States Environmental Protection Agency claimed that Volkswagen had installed illegal software on some of its diesel vehicles, to modify emissions of certain air pollutants. Subsequently, the company has been the subject of legal action brought by consumers, investors, non-governmental organisations and government agencies. In many cases, the plaintiffs have gathered their actions together into collective (or class action) complaints. In the United States, complaints have been filed by law firms, government departments and even individual states (including the US Justice Department and US Federal Trade Commission, as well as the states of Texas, New Mexico and New Jersey). This briefing provides a non-exhaustive overview of the range of lawsuits under way, many of them still in their initial stages. Several countries around the globe have opened more general investigations on whether car manufacturers respect vehicle emission limits on the road, as opposed to under test conditions. Some other carmakers are suspected also to have used software that manipulates emission levels, similar to that used by Volkswagen. In April 2016, Volkswagen agreed in principle with the US authorities and US class action plaintiffs to buy back, or modify or cancel the leases of affected vehicles. US consumers might also receive substantial compensation. Final details of the settlement are expected in June 2016. No similar agreement has been reached in Europe.

In September 2015, the United States Environmental Protection Agency claimed that Volkswagen had installed illegal software on some of its diesel vehicles, to modify emissions of certain air pollutants. Subsequently, the company has been the subject of legal action brought by consumers, investors, non-governmental organisations and government agencies. In many cases, the plaintiffs have gathered their actions together into collective (or class action) complaints. In the United States, complaints have been filed by law firms, government departments and even individual states (including the US Justice Department and US Federal Trade Commission, as well as the states of Texas, New Mexico and New Jersey). This briefing provides a non-exhaustive overview of the range of lawsuits under way, many of them still in their initial stages. Several countries around the globe have opened more general investigations on whether car manufacturers respect vehicle emission limits on the road, as opposed to under test conditions. Some other carmakers are suspected also to have used software that manipulates emission levels, similar to that used by Volkswagen. In April 2016, Volkswagen agreed in principle with the US authorities and US class action plaintiffs to buy back, or modify or cancel the leases of affected vehicles. US consumers might also receive substantial compensation. Final details of the settlement are expected in June 2016. No similar agreement has been reached in Europe.