Irish claimant taking on Volkswagen group over emissions scandal
Ms Higgins, a nurse from Boyle, County Roscommon asserts that she suffered a loss as a result of the VW scandal and is claiming for damages. Her claim was first brought to the Castlebar District Court in May 2016, and during a hearing on 6th September, the Volkswagen group legal team alleged that the Court didn’t have jurisdiction, and rudely (and somewhat controversially) they walked out of court!
The lawyers reportedly left before an expert scientist spoke about the impact of the emissions, and before an economist was able to speak about the losses inflicted by the scandal. On 15th September, Volkswagen Group Ireland and Volkswagen AG initiated a High Court judicial review.
The High Court determined that a hearing will be carried out to see if the District Court has jurisdiction to hear the case. It decided that Judge Mary Devins would not continue to preside over the case because she was reportedly unable to hide her disgust over Volkswagen’s cheating. To be fair, though, what kind of sane person can be, given what they have done? She was perceived to have a “certain level of hostility” towards the major global car-marker and their legal team.
High Court Judge Mr Justice Ní Raifeartaigh will now reportedly decide whether the District Court has jurisdiction to hear Ms Higgins’ claim. She considered that the jurisdictional issue will be decided in the District Court on the evidence and pleadings brought before it.
Ms Higgins is represented by respected lawyer Evan O’Dwyer, a Co Mayo solicitor. Her claim has gathered international interest as it’s believed to be the first claim to request Volkswagen’s original expert opinion and technical evidence used to develop the so-called “fix” for the EA189 engines.
Ms Higgins also presented vehicle expert Dr Horace Calvert Stinton’s report to back-up her claim. Dr Stinton’s thorough report examines the so-called “defeat device” and the impact the software update can have on vehicles.
The report suggests that the “fix” may not even reduce NOx levels at all.
Volkswagen has already admitted liability in the U.S. for cheating in their official emissions testing. They also reportedly stated in a letter that a number of their employees met with other car-makers to discuss all sorts of aspects related to making and selling cars. It was in one of these supposedly anti-competitive working groups that the idea and method for the so-called “defeat devices” may reportedly have been discussed.
It’s a real David vs Goliath battle!
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