The Volkswagen Group is paying GBP193m to settle ‘dieselgate’ claims in the UK.
Claimants reached an out of court settlement in the Volkswagen NOx Emissions Group Litigation. That group action concerned claims, which first became public in September 2015, made in respect of the two mode software installed in some VW group vehicles with EA189 diesel engines.
The terms and conditions of the settlement are confidential.
No admissions in respect of liability, causation or loss have been made by any of the defendants in the group action as part of the settlement. In Volkswagen’s view, a statement said, “the legal costs of litigating this case to a six-month trial in England, and then in relation to any further appeals by either party, were such that settlement was the most prudent course of action commercially”.
The agreed settlement resolves around 91,000 claims which were being brought against various Volkswagen Group and dealer entities in that group action in England & Wales. These claims were brought on behalf of consumers by the law firms Slater and Gordon, Leigh Day and PGMBM, who were the court appointed steering committee representing all of the claimants in the conduct of the litigation. Slater and Gordon and Leigh Day were appointed the co-lead solicitors.
A payment of £193m is being made to the claimants by the Volkswagen Group. A separate contribution is being made by the group towards the claimants’ legal costs and other fees.
The Volkswagen Group is not participating in the distribution or allocation of the sums, which will be allocated between the claimants in proportions agreed amongst the various claimant solicitors’ firms and those from whom they take instructions.
“The Volkswagen Group would, once again, like to take this opportunity to sincerely apologise to their customers for the two mode software installed in the EA189 vehicles,” the automaker said in its statement.
“The [group] will continue to work to rebuild the trust of their customers here in England & Wales. This settlement represents an important further stage in that process.”
Philip Haarmann, chief legal officer at Volkswagen AG, said: “The [group] is pleased that we have been able to conclude this long running litigation in England & Wales. The settlement is another important milestone as the [group] continues to move beyond the deeply regrettable events leading up to September 2015.”
Commenting on the settlement, Slater and Gordon CEO David Whitmore said: “At Slater and Gordon, we are passionate about securing the best possible outcome for our customers, and I am immensely proud of this result. Over the last 5 years, Slater and Gordon have rightly dedicated a significant and unwavering commitment to this case, providing an expert voice to a round 70,000 claimants. The settlement avoids the need for a lengthy, complex and expensive trial process and we are delighted to have achieved this settlement for our customers as a result of the group action.”
Lead solicitors at Leigh Day, Bozena Michalowska and Shazia Yamin, said: “We are pleased that Volkswagen has repeated its sincere apology for the use of the prohibited two mode software. We are delighted that this case has finally been settled for our clients and the claimants in the NOx emissions litigation. We have been unwavering in our belief in our clients’ case, that is why we have fought long and hard for this outcome. We are clear that it was in the interest of our clients to settle this early.”
Tony Winterburn, a partner and head of consumer protection litigation at PGMBM, who acted on behalf of 15,000 claimants in the litigation, added: “This is a good day for the claimants and is the culmination of five years of hard-fought litigation.”
The settlement applies only to claims in the Volkswagen NOx Emissions Group Litigation. It has no bearing on any other claims relating to other engines in England & Wales or any other jurisdiction.