BERLIN (Reuters) - A German court on Tuesday ruled in favor of Volkswagen in a case brought by a customer seeking compensation for having bought a diesel car affected by emissions cheating, but the plaintiff’s lawyer plans to appeal.
A lower court in Brunswick near Volkswagen’s Wolfsburg headquarters denied compensation in the case.
Volkswagen said it welcomed the ruling, but the plaintiff’s lawyer said he would appeal the ruling at the Federal Court of Justice, Germany’s highest court.
The case could become the first against VW to be decided by the Federal Court, potentially setting a precedent for customers affected by the diesel scandal.
VW customers have filed thousands of lawsuits across Germany seeking compensation after buying cars affected by emissions cheating software. So far, VW and affiliated traders have won 22 rulings by lower appeals courts.
The plaintiff in the this case was supported by myRight, a consumer body which has organized a group action against Volkswagen.
“myRight now is in the finals against VW”, said myRight founder Jan-Eike Andresen. The consumer body, which cooperates with U.S. law firm Hausfeld, currently represents 45,000 plaintiffs who want compensation for their diesel vehicles.
Altogether, more than 400,000 German diesel customers have participated in a joint legal action against Volkswagen.
A Federal Court of Justice ruling on the case, legally assessing Volkswagen’s responsibility and potential obligation to pay compensation toward car owners, would bind all other German jurisdictions.
VW has said about 11 million diesel cars worldwide were fitted with software that could cheat emissions tests designed to limit noxious car fumes.
The German carmaker has agreed to pay billions of dollars in the United States to settle claims from owners, environmental regulators, states and dealers. It offered to buy back 500,000 polluting U.S. vehicles.
The company has not reached a similar deal in Europe, where it faces billions of euros in claims from investors and customers.
Reporting by Tassilo Hummel and Arno Schuetze, additional reporting by Jan Schwartz; Editing by Kirsten Donovan