The role of Volkswagen’s umbrella company Porsche SE in the emissions fraud will now be highlighted in a separate test case in Stuttgart after all. This is what shareholders demanding compensation from the holding company have achieved at the Federal Court of Justice (BGH), as the BGH announced in Karlsruhe.
Decision of the OLG revised
The Stuttgart Higher Regional Court had rejected its own case last year. The judges there were of the opinion that the claims basically revolved around the same facts as those in the lawsuit already underway against Volkswagen AG and Porsche SE in Brunswick. Thus, for the time being, there should not be a separate test case only against Porsche SE, it hailed at the time.
Karlsruhe judges saw it differently. They overturned the decision of their Stuttgart colleagues and instructed them to now designate a so-called model plaintiff for their own proceedings under the Capital Investor Model Proceedings Act (KapMuG) (Az. II ZB 10. It is significant that the Braunschweig proceedings concern public capital market information of Volkswagen AG, whereas the Stuttgart proceedings concern information of Porsche SE. "The fact that events at Volkswagen AG are at least indirectly relevant in both proceedings is not decisive," they emphasized.
Chronology of the emissions scandal
Mid-September 2015: The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) accuses the Volkswagen Group of equipping diesel cars built between 2009 and 2015 with software that tricks tests for U.S. environmental regulations. The California Air Resources Board (CARB) has also come to similar conclusions. Both authorities send complaints to VW. (Pictured: EPA headquarters in Washington D.C.)
Too late informed?
The plaintiffs believe that Porsche SE (PSE), which is Volkswagen’s majority shareholder, was too late in informing them about the financial consequences of the diesel scandal. PSE rejects that, as does Volkswagen itself. The Frankfurt law firm Nieding+Barth, which, according to its own information, won the BGH decision, spoke of "a first, hard-fought stage victory for damaged Porsche shareholders". It now expects to be designated by the Higher Regional Court of Stuttgart as a model lawsuit. Porsche SE emphasized that the BGH decision was not directed against it. The company had originally applied for KapMuG proceedings before the Stuttgart Higher Regional Court.