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Word of power from Luxembourg in the emissions scandal: millions of diesel drivers of almost all brands can claim damages ()

Nuremberg (end) –

The European Court of Justice (ECJ) caused a real bang today in the diesel scandal. With three judgments of July 14, 2022 in the cases C-128/20, C-134/20 and C-145/20, the ECJ confirmed that mere software solutions are in many cases insufficient to comply with the legally prescribed limit values. In Germany, both the administration and the judiciary will have to reconsider and significantly adapt their previous practices. “After software solutions have been implemented in almost all diesel engines from all manufacturers in the last ten years in order to avoid more expensive hardware solutions, there are currently completely new opportunities to assert claims for damages against VW, Audi, Porsche, Fiat and other car manufacturers. Affected of the diesel scandal should act now at the very latest”, Dr. Marcus Hoffmann and Mirko Göpfert, partners in the law firm Dr. Hoffmann & Partner Rechtsanwälte from Nuremberg.

“Diesel vehicle software that reduces the effectiveness of the emissions control system at normal temperatures and during most of the year constitutes an unacceptable defeat device.” This is the succinct headline of the ECJ’s press release of July 14, 2022. However, the importance of the decisions for those affected by the emissions scandal and for the German judiciary and executive can hardly be overestimated.

KBA recalls despite software solutions

Actually, the manipulated exhaust gas cleaning of millions of VW vehicles should be fixed with a simple software update without much fuss. This software contains a so-called thermal window, which allows effective exhaust gas cleaning only at outside temperatures between 15 and 33 degrees. Outside this window, the exhaust gas recirculation rate is linearly reduced to zero, which means that the legal limits are exceeded.

The Federal Motor Transport Authority (KBA) did not see this as a problem and approved the software update including the thermal window that was installed as a result of the recalls. This previously widespread procedure should be history today.

Power word from Luxembourg

Because the top judges in Luxembourg have now decisively opposed this handling with their judgments of July 14, 2022, cases: C-128/20, C-134/20 and C-145/20. The software solution, also known as a thermal window, which comes in a wide variety of forms, is usually an impermissible defeat device.

In the opinion of the Nuremberg lawyers, the ECJ made it particularly clear that such a defeat device can only be “necessary” and therefore permissible in exceptional cases if no other technical option was available to avert serious risks. “This is exactly what has to be denied in almost all cases, not least in view of the hardware solutions available to all manufacturers,” explains Attorney Göpfert.

As a result of these decisions, the KBA will have to act immediately and call on all vehicle manufacturers to come up with hardware solutions. Conversely, there is a renewed threat of hardship for all affected owners of diesel vehicles. German case law must address this by extending the liability regime.

Victims of all brands should act now

This is all the more true as the ECJ Advocate General Rantos already dropped a bombshell with his opinion of June 2nd, 2022 on Case C-100/21. Simple negligence is sufficient for the claim for damages resulting from the statements of the Advocate General. Immoral – intentional – action is not a requirement. The German lower courts, some of which followed the case law of the Federal Court of Justice somewhat without reflection, will also have to orientate themselves on the expected judgment of the European Court of Justice. This means that it will hardly be possible to reject legitimate claims from those affected by the diesel scandal with the often untested argument of a lack of intent.

About dr Hoffmann & Partner Attorneys

The office of Dr. Hoffmann & Partner Rechtsanwälte offers consumers a free and non-binding initial assessment (https://drhoffmann-partner.de/). If legal protection insurance is available, the assumption of costs will also be clarified.

According to the Nuremberg lawyers’ decades of experience, well-founded representation in court is decisive for the success of a lawsuit against a large corporation or a “battle David against Goliath”, especially in the diesel scandal. The law firm of Dr. Hoffmann & Partner Rechtsanwälte from Nuremberg protects the legal interests of consumers in a few selected areas of law, which she masters at the highest level. The consumer protection law firm has already successfully represented well over 1,000 clients against large companies and fought for groundbreaking, nationwide decisions, including before the Federal Constitutional Court.

Press contact:

dr Hoffmann & Partner Attorneys
Attorney Dr. Marcus Hoffman
Virchowstrasse 20d
90409 Nuremberg

Tel:+49 (0) 911 567 94 00
Fax:+49 (0) 911 657 94 01
Email: [email protected]

Original content by: Dr. Hoffmann & Partner Rechtsanwälte, transmitted by news aktuell

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