German court has to recruit extra staff to deal with flood of lawsuits against Volkswagen


A German court said it has added staff and storage space to handle a flood of 1,400 investor lawsuits against Volkswagen seeking damages worth €8.2bn.

The regional court in Braunschweig said that on Monday alone, 750 lawsuits arrived from a single law office as a possible one-year deadline to file approached.

Institutional and individual investors claim Volkswagen did not disclose in a timely way that it faced costly action from US regulators over cars with software that enabled them to cheat on diesel emissions tests.

They say the information could have enabled them to decide whether to sell their shares, which fell sharply after the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the case on September 18 2015.

Lawyers have said the courts may eventually find that investors had one year to file suit after the EPA announcement; the anniversary fell on a Sunday, leaving Monday as the possible deadline and leading some plaintiffs to file in order to be on the safe side.

Volkswagen said it met all its disclosure duties.

The company said that ahead of the EPA announcement it still appeared as if the diesel violation could be resolved by working with authorities and paying a relatively modest fine in the area of $100m (€89m) or less.

Instead, the company has wound up setting aside more than €18bn thus far to cover fines and consumer claims.

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