- The Federation of German Consumer Organisations (Verbraucherzentrale Bundesverband – vzbv) is commencing a model case procedure against Daimler AG before the Higher Regional Court of Stuttgart (Oberlandesgericht Stuttgart - OLG Stuttgart) due to illegal defeat devices.
- The court will examine the prerequisites for damage claims in relation to the Mercedes GLC and GLK models with the motor type OM 651.
- vzbv alleges that Daimler AG knowingly manipulated threshold values for emissions
Today, vzbv filed a model case procedure against Daimler AG at the OLG Stuttgart. By doing so, vzbv aims to make it easier for affected parties to claim damages. The procedure was filed due to numerous recalls by the Federal Motor Transport Authority (Kraftfahrt-Bundesamt - KBA) of Mercedes GLC and GLK models with the motor type OM651, which were fitted with illegal defeat devices. By installing such devices, manufacturers can ensure that vehicles comply with the legal emissions thresholds during the type approval process. However, once the vehicles are on the road, they exceed these thresholds by a significant margin.
“vzbv assumes that the model case procedure against Daimler AG will result in consumers being able to claim damages. Parties who believe they have suffered damage will obtain certainty about whether Daimler AG intentionally fitted several models of vehicle with illegal defeat devices,” says Klaus Müller, vzbv’s Executive Director. “Despite recalls by the authorities, Daimler AG still denies having intentionally manipulated the emissions values of its vehicles. We are now seeking a ruling from the OLG Stuttgart which confirms this. Finally, there will be legal certainty for the many affected consumers.”
Model case procedure to cover up to 50,000 recalled vehicles
In Germany, approximately 254,000 Daimler vehicles have been recalled by the authorities. In its model case procedure, vzbv will focus on the motor type OM651. This would affect around 50,000 Mercedes GLC and GLK models in Germany. If these cars do not have a software update installed on them as ordered by the authorities, they may have to be taken off the road. Many consumers had the cars affected by vzbv’s procedure recalled in 2018, meaning that the related claims are due to lapse at the end of 2021. By joining the procedure, you have the opportunity to prevent your claims from becoming time-barred.
Together against Daimler
So far, the verdicts from different courts were not consistent. Only individual actions have been lodged against the manufacturer. Whether the claims are successful or not depends on how the affected parties argue their case before the court. Daimler has at all times denied having acted intentionally or contrary to public policy – and this approach has often been successful before the court, depending on the case circumstances. Therefore, in the model case procedure, vzbv seeks a ruling from the court about which defeat devices were installed in which vehicles. “We want Daimler AG to take responsibility for having manipulated emission values, and we want affected consumers to get compensated quicker,” say Dr Ralf Stoll and Ralph Sauer of Dr. Stoll & Sauer Litigation Rechtsanwaltsgesellschaft mbH.
Possibility to join the model case procedure from opening of claims register
The claims register will be opened several weeks after the proceeding is filed at the Federal Office of Justice (Bundesamt für Justiz - BfJ). Only then will it be possible to file claims with the register and for consumers to join the model case procedure. Interested and affected parties can keep up with the latest developments and read news alerts on www.musterfeststellungsklagen.de.
The model case procedure
Companies can harm a large number of consumers with just a single act of misconduct. To prevent everyone from having to sue individually, the legislator in Germany introduced the model case procedure (Musterfeststellungsklage) in 2018. One lawsuit bundles together many aggrieved parties. If the proceedings end in a judgment or a settlement, the result applies to all participants.