Dieselgate lawyers threaten German transport minister with "flood of lawsuits": report

Source: Xinhua| 2019-08-20 00:01:36|Editor: Mu Xuequan
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BERLIN, Aug. 19 (Xinhua) -- The German law firm Dr. Stoll & Sauer threatened Germany's transport minister Andreas Scheuer with a "flood of lawsuits" if his ministry would not support plaintiffs in the diesel scandal more strongly, German magazine Spiegel reported on Monday.

In a letter seen by Spiegel, the lawyers from Dr. Stoll & Sauer which are representing more than 15,000 plaintiffs who are suing over illegally manipulated diesel exhaust values, "personally accuse" Scheuer and his predecessor Alexander Dobrindt of "aiding and abetting fraud".

According to the law firm, they are representing 350 clients for which they are set to file claims for damages against the German federal government on account of state liability, warning that the claims would expire at the end of the year.

Dr. Stoll & Sauer would therefore be trying to achieve that the German government prolongs the limitation of the claims for damages against it until the end of 2021

The lawyers are accusing Germany's transport ministry as well as the Federal Motor Transport Authority (KBA) to have only "inadequately" performed their control and monitoring obligations towards German car manufacturers such as Volkswagen, Audi or Daimler.

In a response to the letter, the transport ministry rejected the criticism. A ministry spokesperson said that the arguments presented by the law firm were absurd.

The landmark trial filed by the Federation of German Consumer Organisations (VZBV) is scheduled to start at the higher regional court of Brunswick on Sept. 30. About 430,000 owners of Volkswagen diesel vehicles have registered for this trial.

"It has long been apparent how strongly the government was involved in the emergence of the diesel scandal," Spiegel cited lawyer Ralph Sauer.

The German government would have "not looked at obvious indications of possible tampering" as well as granted approvals for cars "despite considerable doubts", added Sauer.

"When the claims against Volkswagen have expired, we have a further opponent in the form of the government," said Sauer.