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Quinn fastens up for multibillion-euro shareholder claim against Volkswagen in Germany

US litigation powerhouse Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan has been instructed in a shareholder lawsuit against car maker Volkswagen (VW) after the company lost as much as $33bn in market value in ten days after it admitted to cheating emissions tests.

Litigation funder Bentham is gathering claimants ahead of filing a multibillion-euro claim against the German car giant after its share price plummeted and has instructed Quinn Emanuel’s Hamburg and Brussels managing partner Nadine Herrmann and London managing partner Richard East to front the litigation.

The claim will centre on arguments that Volkswagen, which owns luxury carmaker Porsche and brands VW Golf, Beetle and Passat, failed to disclose material information that would impact the company’s share price, and seeks compensation for damages caused by the scandal.

After admitting to rigging some 11 million cars with software to cheat emissions tests, the price of Volkswagen shares trading on its primary listing at the Frankfurt Stock Exchange, has plummeted from €162.4 on 21 September to €97.09 on 6 October. East labelled the legal action as ‘the most significant securities action that has ever been filed in Germany’.

The instruction means that Quinn is now suing Volkswagen on both sides of the Atlantic, with the firm having teamed up with consumer rights firm Hagens Berman to file a class action complaint in Los Angeles against the carmaker and its US subsidiary for cheating emissions tests, falsely advertising its vehicles and defrauding consumers.

Claimant firms Slater & Gordon and Leigh Day are gearing up for a similar case in the UK, aiming to represent thousands of European car purchasers in the English courts.  

Jeremy Marshall, chief investment officer at Bentham, added: ‘The events of the last few weeks have been extraordinary for one of the giants of the automobile sector. It needs one of the  giants  of  the  legal  sector  to  get  to  the  bottom  of  the  ‘crisis  of  confidence’  referred  to yesterday  by  Matthias  Müller,  Volkswagen’s  new  chief  executive.  We  are  confident  that Quinn Emanuel’s approach and reputation will assist shareholders in obtaining swift and fair recompense for the losses that they have suffered through no fault of their own.’