Stichting Diesel Emissions Justice (DEJF) was established under Dutch law on 3 July 2019. It has brought collective tort proceedings against Volkswagen in the Netherlands and seeks to obtain fair and adequate damages for consumers across the continent of Europe in collective damages proceedings or in a collective settlement. Volkswagen has admitted fault in America and accepted responsibility by compensating both consumers and environmental protection agencies. While there are no differences in the defective vehicles sold in America and Europe, Volkswagen has shamefully refused to accept responsibility for the harm it has caused European consumers.
As a large international corporation, Volkswagen has relied and still relies on the fact that a single person does not have the resources to challenge their wrongful conduct. Another factor that has greatly benefited Volkswagen is that, unlike in the USA, European litigation efforts against Volkswagen thus far have been fragmented.
A unique feature that sets the foundation apart from other initiatives is that it intends to litigate the claims of European car owners in a coordinated manner. Therefore, the foundation does not limit its activities to bringing litigation in the Netherlands in a collective action. The foundation is also committed to litigate the claims of non-Dutch car owners in various other jurisdictions if needed to achieve an appropriate solution. Therefore, by joining the foundation, you gain strength in numbers and streamline your litigation efforts under one team of lawyers to assure you have Volkswagen’s attention. This will allow you to amplify your voice and put pressure on Volkswagen to fulfil its obligations. In this approach, we believe we can finally level the pitch, give you the voice you deserve and reach a solution that serves the interests of European car owners.
European consumers are joining the foundation and its partners by the day. Don’t miss out on this opportunity to be compensated for the financial harm Volkswagen has caused and to hold Volkswagen accountable.
The object of the Dutch foundation, Diesel Emissions Justice Stichting, is to protect the environment and represent the interests of consumers who have been harmed by emissions scandals. We believe now is the right time to bring collective proceedings and seek compensation for you, using the legal tool kit available in the Netherlands. It will cost you no money out of pocket to pursue your claim as all costs are advanced by the foundation.
The foundation is being advised by a leading group of attorneys and industry professionals from around the world. These professionals are globally recognized as the industry leaders in automotive and collective redress and have tremendous experience in pursuing, resolving and administering collective actions around the world.
In Belgium, we are working with Geert Lenssens from SQ and Laurent Arnauts from Watt Legal to represent the interests of current and previous car owners and leasees of impacted vehicles.
Geert Lenssens, SQ
Geert Lenssens is leading partner in the Brussels-based law firm SQ. As an experienced lawyer, he has 30+ years of experience in national and international litigation as well as experience as a Deputy Judge (Commercial Court) and as a business mediator. His law practice areas include, among others, mass actions and class actions in which he successfully recovered considerable compensations for his clients (companies and consumers). He is widely considered an expert on fraud, assisting in preventing fraud, discovering fraud, and recovering after fraud. Geert has been involved in some of the largest mass claims against big companies such as the Dieselgate case, the LHSP case, the Citibank case, the Delta Lloyd case, the Fortis case, the ARCO case and the Dexia case, representing thousands of claimants. Geert is a member of the Brussels Bar, member of the B – Mediation Institute in Brussels specialized in international arbitration and mediation and a member of GJN.
Laurent Arnauts, Watt Legal
Laurent Arnauts is a partner at WATT Legal, a Brussels-based corporate law firm, specializing in capital and financial markets as well as complex dispute resolution. He has over 25 years of experience as a lawyer including extensive work on class action. He has gained repute in landmark complex litigation cases involving Belgian, European and International law defending minority shareholders, investors and companies (e.g. the collapse of Fortis, the European EU Emissions Trading System security issues, Nyrstar/Trafigura case, sovereign bonds related cases) and criminal law (2008 financial crisis criminal cases involving Fortis, BNP Paribas, KBC, stock market manipulation cases). He was also heard as an expert in Belgian financial law by the Southwark Crown Court of London in the Libor case.
The Board of Directors
Prof. Andrew Goodman, LLB MBA PhD FCIArb FInstCPD FRSA
Andrew is the chairman of the board of directors. He has over 40 years’ experience as an independent commercial barrister and international consulting mediator. He holds a number of visiting academic posts in the UK, Europe and South Africa and advises governments, Bars, corporations and institutions on conflict avoidance and dispute management systems. He has helped develop mediation processes in Turkey, Thailand, Nigeria and Nepal and is a thought leader in the field of mediation advocacy, which he helped establish.
Andrew practices in up to 20 jurisdictions and is the author of nearly 50 books on legal processes and dispute resolution.
He is a director of Gateway Class Actions Limited, which is currently pursuing projects actively assisting victims in mass tort claim litigation in the United States, Canada, Australia and within the EU.
A Master of the Bench of the Inner Temple, London, Andrew has established practices in London, Hong Kong, Bangkok, Lagos and Kathmandu. Among other organisations, he is a member of the International Advocacy Training Council, the International Mediation Institute and is a Faculty member of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators.
Prof. Miguel Sousa Ferro
Miguel is a Professor at the University of Lisbon Law School and at the European University in Lisbon, where he lectures in the fields of Competition Law, EU Law, Economic Law and Introduction to Economics. He has a PhD from the University of Lisbon, and an LL.M from the College of Europe.
Miguel is a practicing lawyer with extensive experience in competition consultancy and litigation (including the first antitrust consumer class action in Portugal). He is co-Director of the Portuguese Competition & Regulation Journal, and a Board member of the Portuguese Competition Observatory, of the European Institute and of the Economic, Financial and Tax Law Institute of the University of Lisbon Law School.
Miguel has over 80 papers published in legal journals and 5 monographs, including the recently published “The EU Antitrust Damages Directive: Transposition in the Member States” (Oxford University Press), and “Market Definition in EU Competition Law” (Edward Elgar).
Prof. Maria José Azar-Baud
Marie-José is an expert on collective redress in comparative law. She is a Lecturer at Paris-Saclay University and also teaches at several national and international universities in the field of consumer and distribution law, international contracts, and comparative procedural law.
Maria José holds a double doctorate from Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne University and the University of Buenos Aires, focusing on collective actions in France and Argentina in the light of comparative law. She is the author of more than 70 publications, mainly in this area. One of the main authors of the recent study on collective redress in the EU Member States, at the request of the European Parliament(http://www.europarl.europa.eu/RegData/etudes/STUD/2018/608829/IPOL_STU(2018)608829_EN.pdf).
In 2017, Maria founded the Observatory of group actions and other collective actions (www.observatoireactionsdegroupe.fr), which she directs and in which class actions are approached in an interdisciplinary manner (behavioral sciences, mathematics, artificial intelligence, etc.).
A member of several scholarly associations, Maria José has been heard in matters of group and collective actions in general in the Senate, the National Assembly and in several ministries in France as well as in the European Parliament.
Maria José began her career as a lawyer and has extensive experience in the practice of collective actions and the negotiation of amicable collective settlements on behalf of consumer associations in Argentina.
The Supervisory Board
George Tsetsekos, PhD
George serves as the Francis professor of Finance and Dean Emeritus at Drexel’s LeBow College of Business in Philadelphia USA. He served as Dean of LeBow (2002-2012) and under his transformative leadership the College achieved national rankings and quality milestones in research and teaching. His development efforts among others led to the launching of a nationally recognized center in Corporate Governance. Prior to his appointment as Dean, George served as Drexel’s Vice President for academic administration.
His extensive research covers the broad areas of corporate finance, investments, and international finance. His research contributions include articles published in journals including The Journal of Financial Economics, Journal of Banking & Finance and Journal of International Business Studies. He is the author of books in finance, has served on editorial boards for academic journals and chairs conferences on international finance topics. Currently he teaches courses in Private Equity and Financial strategy to MBA students and oversees the Risk Management Center at LeBow.
George has served on Boards of the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, the Penjerdel Council, the PA Economic League, the World Trade Center and other organizations and has Chaired the Board of the Global Interdependence Center. He serves as expert witness on corporate litigation matters and in assessing damages in class action cases. With numerous consulting assignments, he has advised numerous organizations and firms including The World Bank, SEC, Bear Stearns, Johnson & Johnson and FannieMae.
Greg Coleman, Esq.
Greg is a class action attorney and has been successfully involved in numerous class action in the US, including a $178.6 million dollar settlement on behalf of 3000 retirees of AK Steel Corporation.
Managing Partner of Greg Coleman Law PC with 27 years of trial and appellate experience, Greg received his B.A. with highest honors and distinction from Jacksonville State University in 1986. He attended The University of Tennessee College of Law, graduating in 1989. In addition to distinguishing himself academically, Greg was a member of the National Trial Moot Court Team, was the recipient of the American Jurisprudence Award for National Trial Team and was listed in Who’s Who Among Rising Young Americans. In addition, the College of Law bestowed upon Greg the honor of inclusion into the National Order of Barristers for outstanding oral advocacy and trial skills.
Greg’s practice focuses on class actions, products liability, complex multi-district litigation and class actions.
Greg has been nominated as a member of the Supervisory Board by the funder of the foundation, Stichting Diesel Emissions Justice BV, and presently is a board member of the funder.
The Director of the foundation
The Director of the foundation is Femke Hendriks. Femke has a long history in the field of collective actions and corporate governance. She is a widely recognized expert in shareholder litigation and has been involved in a number of high-profile securities litigation cases in The Netherlands, US, Europe and Asia.
Femke was one of the key initiators of the Act on the Resolution of Mass Claims in Collective Action (WAMCA) and was part of the Expert Group that advised the Dutch Ministry of Justice on this act, which will enter into force soon. She vigorously advocated this bill in order to enable affected parties to recover monetary damages in addition to existing Dutch WCAM-legislation.
In her capacity as Attorney at Law/Senior Advisor Responsible Investment at PGGM Investments, a cooperative Dutch pension fund service provider with appr. EUR 200 billion assets under management, she was responsible for PGGM’s shareholder litigation activities worldwide and, in this capacity, played leading roles in the multibillion Bank of America class action and the collective proceedings in the Fortis case.
Prior to that Femke, who started her career as a corporate lawyer, gained a high level of experience in collective actions as Vice Director of the Dutch Shareholders Association VEB. In this function, she was involved in landmark cases as World Online and Ahold, and contributed to the development of the first Dutch Corporate Governance Code in 2003.
The object of the Stichting Diesel Emissions Justice (the “foundation”) is to represent car buyers who suffered losses as a result of the diesel emission fraud and to protect the environment. Although the foundation aims to serve the interests of affected parties residing in the European Union, it is possible that the claims of certain groups of car owners or users have expired in accordance with the applicable, national law or that jurisdictional restriction hinder a quick solution.
The foundation is independent, based in the Netherlands and is funded by Consumer Justice Network B.V., a consortium of legal professionals and professional litigation funders from the Netherlands and the United States. As the funder works on the basis of a contingency-fee up to 27,5% (including VAT if applicable) of the recovered amounts will be paid to the funder. The ultimate fees shall be reasonable and adequate, as subject to the foundation’s board’s and supervisory board’s approval, negotiation results and court approval. In return, participants of the foundation can join the foundation’s cause for free.
The Board and the Supervisory Board of the Foundation will both make efforts (pursuant to Article 3: 305a, paragraph 2, sub b of the Dutch Civil Code) to involve participants (who have entered into a Participation Agreement with the Foundation) as much as reasonably possible in the decision making process on important issues. In particular, the Foundation will consult its constituency about the distribution of any financial compensation that may be obtained for (part of) the damage that its Participants claim to have suffered in accordance with Article 2, paragraph 1, sub c of its Articles of Association, as well as about a potential settlement proposal as referenced in Article 10 of the Articles of Association. The Foundation may organize consultation of its participants on these matters through holding (digital) meetings such as “web-casts” or other forms of online communication.
The foundation’s board is responsible for the day to day business of the foundation, in close cooperation with the foundation’s director, Femke Hendriks. Her task is to focus fully on the daily operations of the foundation, to function as a spokesperson for the foundation and to coordinate the activities of the foundation in various jurisdictions.
The members of the board receive a remuneration of EUR 12.000 per year and EUR 15.000 for the chairperson. In addition, the foundation has a supervisory board. Its members receive a remuneration of EUR 10.000 per year and EUR 12.500 for the chairperson. Additional hours above a certain threshold may be invoiced for a rate of EUR 200 per board and supervisory board member, and EUR 250 for the chairperson of the board and supervisory board. Reasonable travelling costs and other costs and disbursements are reimbursed. Further details about the board and the supervisory board members are included earlier in the About Us section.
In addition, reference is made to the foundation’s articles of association. Annual reports and a governance report as referred in the Claim Code 2019 will be made available
Stichting Diesel Emissions Justice
1016 BX Amsterdam
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