First diesel lawsuit before the BGH

The highest civil judges at the Federal Court of Justice are starting to deal with the complaints relating to the diesel scandal. Meanwhile, a ruling by the Federal Constitutional Court of Volkswagen is unlikely to appeal.

20,000 customers have sued in the diesel scandal.

IIn the course of the wave of lawsuits due to the diesel exhaust scandal, the first decision by the highest civil judge at the Federal Court of Justice (BGH) is on the horizon. In the meantime, a car buyer’s lawsuit is pending for revision (Az. VIII ZR 78/18). In all likelihood, negotiations will not take place this year, said a court spokeswoman in Karlsruhe on request.

According to VW, a good 20,000 customers have sued the Volkswagen Group and its dealers alone. In addition, there are thousands who have taken some sort of class action lawsuit. According to a VW spokesman, there are now around 4,500 judgments, mostly from regional courts and around a dozen judgments from higher regional courts. As a result, in most cases, the claims were dismissed.

Numerous individual judgments

How the BGH decides is extremely important. Its case law sets the line for all future judgments on the same issue. Because there are many different questions in the room in the scandal, one basic judgment is not to be expected that will decide everything in one fell swoop. Rather, it is to be expected that numerous individual judgments will gradually clarify the legal situation.

In this case, the driver of a Skoda wants to enforce a price reduction of 20 percent at his car dealer. When it was purchased in 2013, the diesel car had an illegal shutdown device that reduces exhaust gas cleaning in normal operation on the road and thus increases the emission of harmful nitrogen oxide. The software has now been updated. The plaintiff claims that this caused him technical disadvantages. In addition, the car is generally flawed because of the emissions scandal. So far the man has had no success. Most recently, the higher regional court (OLG) Dresden decided that it had not specifically proven both. Vague fears are not enough. The BGH has the last word.

There is a second diesel case in which the OLG Bamberg did not allow the appeal. The plaintiff has lodged a complaint.

Public prosecutor’s office is allowed to evaluate internal VW files

In the diesel scandal, the investigators are allowed to evaluate extensive documents from a law firm working on behalf of VW after a one-year delay. The Federal Constitutional Court dismissed several constitutional complaints against the seizure, as announced on Friday in Karlsruhe. Volkswagen AG was neither violated in its right to informational self-determination nor in its right to a fair trial, it was said to justify.

The dispute revolves around data and files that were found in March 2017 during a search of the Munich office of the law firm Jones Day. This law firm is working on the emissions scandal for the carmaker internally. At the end of July 2017, the Constitutional Court stopped the evaluation of the documents in an urgent decision until the constitutional complaints had been decided. This decision is now available – to the disadvantage of VW. (Az. 2 BvR 1287/17 et al.)