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Irish legal firm makes breakthrough in push for VW emissions compensation

The company is currently paying out a €13.9 billion settlement to customers in the United States.

File photo
File photo
Image: Michael Probst/PA Wire

AN IRISH LEGAL practice has been granted a discovery order as part of a case being taken against Volkswagen (VW) over last year’s emissions scandal.

What this means is that the German car manufacturer will have to provide technical evidence to O’Dwyer Solicitors of Ballyhaunis, Co Mayo – information that will include the findings of academics and experts within the motor industry.

The case is being taken by solicitor Evan O’Dwyer on behalf of Eithne Higgins, a nurse with an address in Boyle, Co Roscommon.

The discovery order was granted last month by Judge Mary Devins in Castlebar District Court, and since its announcement it is understood that as many as 400 additional customers have sought representation in relation to the same issue.

It is the first discovery order granted against the company outside of the United States as part of this action.

Emissions scandal 

The Volkswagen emissions scandal came to light last year after it was found that software that masked the extent of harmful emissions had been fitted to around 11 million vehicles internationally.

In Ireland, around 110,000 motorists have been impacted, including the owners of cars manufactured by Skoda, Audi and Seat – all of which are subsidiaries of VW.

The company are currently in the process of paying out around €13.9 billion in compensation to is US customers base, who have been able to avail of having their cars bought back and have been compensated by as much as $10,000 per car (€9,000).

In Europe such a scheme has not been forthcoming.

In April, the company said that the fix it had offered for cars in Europe had been approved by Germany’s automotive watchdog the KBA, which had carried out assessment efforts on behalf of other national regulators in the EU.

Partnership 

In the case plaintiff Eithne Higgins is seeking damages in relation to registration tax and motor tax – amounts which were underpaid due to incorrect emissions data.

In recent days O’Dwyer Solicitors has announced that it will be working with US-based legal firm Hausfeld.

The firm’s chairman Michael D Hausfeld was part of the plaintiff’s steering committee in the US case that led to a settlement being reached with the German car manufacturer.

The case is due back in front of Castlebar District Court in September.

- Comments have been turned off as this case is before the courts.

Read: The Volkswagen emissions scandal has spread to even more cars

Also: Volkswagen is recalling cars in Ireland – starting with this Golf model

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