09:51, June 13 383 0

2017-06-13 09:51:06
Harcus Sinclair act in largest European claim against VW over emissions scandal

Harcus Sinclair has teamed up with a Dutch foundation to launch legal proceedings against Volkswagen and Bosch in the Netherlands.

The two companies are facing a fresh claim by about 180,000 Dutch car owners over the levels of nitrogen oxide emissions produced in its vehicles. The manufacturer is alleged to have fitted its engines with a device to disguise high levels of nitrogen oxide to pass official emissions tests.

In what is thought to be the largest action brought against the car manufacturer in Europe, Harcus Sinclair has teamed up with the Stichting Volkswagen Car Claim Foundation, as well as Dutch law firms AKD Benelux Lawyers, Labaton Sucharow and Breiteneder Attourneys.

The Volkswagen Car Claim Foundation was established in 2015 to compensate drivers of diesel-engine cars, including VW, Audi, Seat and Skoda vehicles, that were manufactured between 2009 and 2015.

Those affected are automatically included in the claim, funded by Therium Capital Management, thanks to the opt-out system.

The Foundation said it was in active talks with consumers in Austria, Germany and Switzerland and that there are ongoing initiatives in Spain, France, Italy, Poland Scandinavia and Czech Republic.

The total value of the claim is not known, but it is thought that consumers could be compensated €4,000 – €5,000 per car.

Damon Parker, head of litigation at Harcus Sinclair, said: “It has been over eighteen months since the scandal was exposed and UK consumers have waited in vain for Volkswagen to acknowledge and respond to their complaints fairly.

“Vehicle owners in England and Wales are registering to join the claim. Financial compensation is not the only issue. They wish to prevent corporations thinking that they can deceive customers and harm people’s health and the environment with impunity.”

Harcus Sinclair has been on call for affected customers of VW vehicles since the start of year when it applied for a group litigation order (GLO) to bring a case in the UK courts.

Harcus Sinclair has instructed a team from Henderson Chambers including Oliver Campbell QC, Adam Heppinstall and Nazeer Chowdhury. 39 Essex Street barrister Gregory Treverton-Jones QC is also working on the case with Hailsham Chambers’ Alexander Hutton QC.

The GLO followed VW’s $15bn settlement with around 500,000 car owners in the US, as well as a wave of legal action launched in Europe. Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan launched a shareholder claim against the manufacturer in Germany in October 2015 with funding from Bentham Europe.

Last July, US firm Hausfeld teamed up with Irish firm O’Dwyer Solicitors to sue VW in the country. O’Dwyer secured the first European court order for discovery against Volkswagen, which is expected to have a significant impact on all other claims brought by firms in EU countries.

VW instructed Freshfields to defend claims related to its emissions scandal in the UK and Europe in late 2015.