U.S. Law Firms are Betting on Control of VW Litigation Overseas

December 2, 2015

Lawrence A. Sucharow discusses how a Dutch foundation could be a viable solution in the Volkswagen scandal

Firm Chairman, Lawrence A. Sucharow said that his firm is actively courting VW investors for the Dutch securities stichting.

VW can settle with its investors just through his case in Holland, without worrying about the German litigation. Unlike KapMuG suits, stichting settlements are opt-out, meaning settlements under the Dutch law bind all investors who don’t pursue individual claims. “It’s not like I’m happy leaving it to Volkswagen,” Sucharow said. “But the only place that can give VW complete relief right now is the Netherlands.”

Sucharow pointed out that German KapMuG litigation can drag on for years – the biggest such case, against Deutsche Telecom, is still under way after more than five years of litigation – while defendants such as Shell have already used the Dutch class action device to resolve international securities claims. He also said shareholder lawyers’ fees are capped at 18 percent in stichting settlements and could be higher in the German system.

Sucharow said his stichting for car owners will address claims only by VW consumers outside of the U.S., noting with a laugh that he doesn’t want to make enemies of the hundreds of plaintiffs’ lawyers in the U.S. who have filed consumer class actions for VW owners.) His firm also brought a class action against VW in the U.S. even as it builds European cases.