Progress

26 May 2020 – Diesel Emissions Justice Foundation (DEJF) publishes a statement reacting to the decision of the Supreme Court of Germany (BGH) against Volkswagen AG. Read the full statement

25 May 2020 – Volkswagen ordered to pay compensation in very favourable decision of German Supreme Court. Read DEJF’s Managing Director Femke Hendriks’ comments in Dutch media. You can also listen to her interviews on Dutch radio here: NOS / Radio 1 and BNR Radio. (All in Dutch)

29 April 2020 – DEJF Managing Director, Femke Hendriks, along with board member, Maria José Azar-Baud, and Supervisory Boardmember, George Tsetsekos, host a webinar for current and prospective claimants across Europe. In addition to providing an overview of the DEJF’s progress to date, they also answered live questions from attendees. The original video can be seen here.

22 April 2020 – DEJF invites all of its current and prospective claimants to attend its Inaugural Webinar on 29 April. The webinar will be conducted in English. A Dutch transcript will be made available after the fact. Registration is closed.

7 Apr 2020 – The DEJF releases a statement in response to the England and Wales High Court Decision on VW. Read the press statement.

16 Mar 2020 – Dutch Financieel Dagblad (FD) publishes article on start of litigation of DEJF against Volkswagen AG in The Netherlands, stating: “The German car giant has been summoned before Amsterdam Court by a Dutch foundation (DEJF) that claims to represent millions of European buyers of affected vehicles. Through the Dutch court, the organization wants to claim billions in damages.” To read the full press release issued by the DEJF, click here.

13 Mar 2020 – DEJF summons Volkswagen et al to appear before Amsterdam District Court under new WAMCA proceedings. DEJF requests to be appointed as the Exclusive Representative Organisation (“Lead Plaintiff”). You can read a summary of the writ in Engish here. The full Dutch text is available here.

4 Mar 2020 – DEJF releases statement in response to VW deal in Germany, applauding resolution achieved by consumer organization VZBV. However, DEJF highlights that VW is only offering compensation for German residents, while the remaining 96% of duped car owners throughout Europe are left out. DEJF encourages VW to work with them to reach an acceptable solution for all affected customers. Read the statement here.

23 Jan 2020 – DEJF sends formal letter to VW informing them of the initiative and demanding compensation for impacted car owners and lessees. Letter encourages VW to enter into a constructive dialogue with DEJF to reach a solution for its constituents or face litigation across Europe.

26 Nov 2019 – DEJF expands its activity to include Belgium. Read the press release.

19 Sept 2019 – DEJF launches in the Netherlands and begins to register potential claimants. Read the press release.

29 Aug 2019 – Corpocon, the first EU firm to start legal mass claims against Volkswagen concerning Dieselgate, joins Stichting Diesel Emissions Justice (DEJF). Having signed its first clients in 2015, Corpocon CEO, Orlando Kadir, said: 

“I believe the experienced Board, impressive Supervisory Board and committed budgets available to Stichting Diesel Emissions Justice will allow it to litigate effectively against Volkswagen and achieve a justified compensation for the 8.5 million duped European Volkswagen Group car owners. For this reason, Corpocon is pleased to bring its thousands of claimants and join forces with Stichting Diesel Emissions Justice, confident we will accomplish far more together and ultimately hold Volkswagen accountable for its actions.”

23 Aug 2019 – The Dutch organisation, Milieudefensie (Friends of the Earth), supports Stichting Diesel Emissions Justice’s actions against Volkswagen AG: 

“With Dieselgate, Volkswagen damaged our health and our environment. Both now and in the future, people will die from air pollution, caused by Volkswagen’s fraud, because these cars are still being driven around. The current political and legal system has not sufficiently protected people from the economic interests of profit-driven industry. That is why Friends of the Earth (NL) supports the legal action of the Diesel Emissions Justice Foundation. Friends of the Earth welcomes the set-up of a Fund that is designated to improve the environment and make traffic more sustainable. This would be fair and desperately needed after the damage caused by the industry…” “

3 July 2019 – After years of preparation, Diesel Emissions Justice Stichting is established under Dutch law. This non-profit foundation is a necessary step in order to formally bring collective tort proceedings against Volkswagen and seek to obtain fair and adequate damages for consumers across the continent of Europe. 

The way forward

The foundation’s strategy consists of the following:

The foundation will act as the centrepoint of European efforts in the Volkswagen matter. It will instruct Dutch and foreign counsel in various European countries.

Following its launch on 19 September 2019, the foundation will follow a track of enhanced book building of unprecedented scale, aiming at a considerable book which may include large fleet owners.

The foundation will notify Volkswagen of its intentions and, meanwhile, roll out its litigation strategy.

The foundation is envisaged to start collective proceedings in the Netherlands. This should result in a declaratory judgment which can be used by the foundation in follow up proceedings on behalf of a large group of individual claimants. For this reason, the participation contains a power of attorney giving the foundation the power to pursue litigation on behalf of individual claimants.

Litigation of individual proceedings in other jurisdictions remains an option and will become relevant if proceedings in the Netherlands do not lead to sufficient willingness on the part of Volkswagen to settle the matter. As for now, the foundation wants to make sure that the required groundwork is being laid out, to the extent practicable.

In addition, the foundation may broaden its actions to include other sorts of damage, including environmental damage.

Although the foundation prefers to settle the matter, it is prepared to pursue litigation in several jurisdictions at the same time. It will have the available funds at its disposal and retained the relevant expertise for doing so.

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