Emissions scandal: lawsuit against Audi before the BGH successful

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For the first time, plaintiffs have sought damages from Audi before the highest German civil court. The Federal Court of Justice (BGH) in Karlsruhe confirmed four judgments of the Higher Regional Court (OLG) Munich, which had largely awarded the Audi buyers the required money. (Az. VII ZR 238/20 etc.)

The judges in Munich were of the opinion that Audi had fraudulently deceived its customers. It seems out of the question that the diesel engine could have been installed almost blindly without an own examination and knowledge of the essential characteristics. Audi appealed against these rulings – in vain.

The diesel engine with the internal designation EA189 was developed by Volkswagen, but was also installed in various Audi models. In two earlier cases, the BGH missed concrete evidence that someone at Audi knew about the illegal exhaust technology. The Munich Higher Regional Court, on the other hand, came to the conclusion that it was unthinkable that not at least one person responsible for Audi was aware of it. The BGH judges complained about a number of errors, but saw themselves bound by the assessment of the higher regional court in the result. The four judgments are now final.

Mid-September 2015: The US environmental protection agency EPA accuses the Volkswagen Group of equipping diesel cars built between 2009 and 2015 with software that tricked the tests on US environmental regulations. The California Air Resources Board (CARB) came to similar findings. Both authorities send complaints to VW. (Pictured: EPA headquarters in Washington DC)
(Image: EPA

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Most of those affected did not take legal action against Audi, but against VW. In this way, claims for damages were much easier to enforce. According to Audi, there are currently still a low four-digit number of pending proceedings. However, not all cases are comparable with the now decided.

More than six years after the fraud was published, the legal matter for the Volkswagen Group has still not been fully dealt with. At the group brand Audi, the manipulation of exhaust aftertreatment apparently continued even after the discovery. This is one of the reasons why there are still several proceedings pending involving diesel engines that were developed at Audi.


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