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VOLKSWAGEN’S disregard for public health in pursuit of profit and market dominance has been exposed in a damning High Court ruling, lawyers representing thousands of motorists said today.
About 90,000 motorists who bought or leased VW, Audi, Seat and Skoda diesel vehicles took legal action for compensation following revelations about the “dieselgate” emissions scandal five years ago.
Their lawyers say that VW cheated European emissions standards designed to save lives.
This was done by installing unlawful defeat devices in its diesel vehicles, disguising the fact that they were emitting up to 40 times the legal limit of nitrogen dioxide when out on the road.
In a judgement delivered remotely today, Mr Justice Waksman ruled that “the software function in issue in this case is indeed a defeat device” under EU regulations.
Head of group litigation at Slater & Gordon Gareth Pope welcomed the “damning judgement.”
He said that it “confirms what our clients have known for a long time but which VW has refused to accept, namely that VW fitted defeat devices into millions of vehicles in the UK in order to cheat emissions tests.”
He added: “The case exposed VW’s approach to this litigation and its customers: refusing to admit wrongdoing and compensate its customers in favour of running drawn-out and pointless litigation.
“The court’s conclusion that the existence of software was a ‘fundamental subversion’ of tests designed to limit pollution and make our air safe to breathe exposes VW’s disregard for EU emissions regulations and public health in pursuit of profit and market dominance.
“VW’s utter failure to convince the court of the merits of its case means that now is surely time for it to settle these claims and put this shameful episode behind it.”
Leigh Day solicitor Bozena Michalowska Howells said that the ruling was “hugely significant for our clients who have been battling for four years to hold Volkswagen to account.”
She called on VW “to now do the right thing and put their customers first by entering into settlement negotiations so that our clients are not forced to drag VW through the courts and be faced with further years of litigation to determine their losses.”
A VW spokeswoman said the company was “considering carefully the grounds on which it may seek to appeal today’s decision.”
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