Friday 23 February 2018

Irish drivers set to sue Volkswagen for millions over scandal

Volkswagen. Photo: PA
Volkswagen. Photo: PA
Eddie Cunningham

Eddie Cunningham

An Irish law firm representing 18 Volkswagen owners is suing the car giant for millions of euro in damages over the emissions scandal.

It wants Volkswagen to take back the cars, fully reimburse the owners and pay them exemplary damages for misleading them on the NOx emissions.

In what is believed to be the first major case of its kind here, Dublin-based solicitors Peter McDonnell & Associates will lodge the papers in the High Court next month.

The Irish Independent has had sight of some of the documents.

The core of the cases against Volkswagen is that because the cars did not do what the company claimed on emissions there was effectively no contract with the customers.

On that basis they want the cars taken back and the money refunded in full to the buyers.

They are also looking for a declaration from the High Court that Volkswagen AG acted in a fraudulent manner.

And they want "aggravated and exemplary" damages to punish the company for the deceit against the owners.

It is understood that the law firm is in the course of preparing at least another 40 cases.

Peter McDonnell & Associates are no strangers to litigation against multi- national companies as they have previously been involved in high-profile cases against tobacco companies and the Redress Board.

They are currently involved in representing people affected by the DuPuy Orthopaedics Hip recall.

In response to queries from the Irish Independent, Mr Peter McDonnell said he expects a lot more people, who got letters from Volkswagen apologising for the scandal, to come forward when they realise that others have already begun litigation.

He added: "Volkswagen can't just say that they have committed 11 million deceptions and that they are sorry.

"I don't think that is good enough. People have a choice. They can accept what Volkswagen are saying or seek redress."

Letters outlining the action have been sent to Volkswagen AG in Germany and to the Volkswagen Group in Ireland.


Mr McDonnell said the letters have been acknowledged by the company's solicitors.

He confirmed that they will be issuing proceedings in the New Year.

Around 115,000 Volkswagens, Audis, Skodas and SEATs sold here are affected by the scandal.

They are among the 11 million worldwide which had software capable of manipulating emissions when they were being tested so the vehicles gave a false and flattering reading.

The cars involved have 2-litre, 1.6-litre and 1.2-litre diesel engines.

Work on the software of the 2-litre models will begin in January, 1.2-litre models in July and should take 30 minutes in each instance.

The 1.6-litre versions need work on software and hardware which is expected to take an hour.

Irish Independent

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