Can U.S. law firms push VW into investor settlement in Holland?

February 19, 2016

Lawrence A. Sucharow discusses the benefits of a Stichting as a venue for recovery for Volkswagen shareholders

U.S. plaintiffs’ firm Labaton Sucharow, which set up a VW stichting in October, is funding the foundation’s operations. Both firms have brought in Dutch counsel and helped put together a board of luminaries intended ultimately to persuade the Amsterdam Court of Appeals to approve a global settlement with VW to resolve the claims of all European shareholders.

Before that could happen, one of the Dutch stichtings would have to convince Volkswagen to entertain settlement discussions. Stichtings have the power, under a 2012 Dutch appellate decision, to negotiate settlements that bind defendants and investors across Europe. But stichtings do not litigate. They are only vehicles to resolve investors’ claims.

Lawrence Sucharow of the Labaton Sucharow, who is heading up his firm’s recruitment of investors for its four-month-old VW stichting, said that because the Dutch nonprofits are just settlement vehicles and not litigating entities, VW shareholders are permitted to sign up as stichting members and simultaneously bring individual claims in Germany. That way…investors can preserve their rights however VW decides to proceed.