Case of the Week: Federal Constitutional Court Allows Search of Jones Day’s Offices in Volkswagen Case

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BundesverfassungsgerichtA little under a year ago, we reported that the Federal Constitutional Court (Bundesverfassungsgericht) had issued an injunction that stopped the Munich Public Prosecution Office (Staatsanwaltschaft München) to look into and use the documents it seized at the Munich offices of law firm Jones Day. A quick recap of the facts:

Jones Day has acted as counsel to Volkswagen in the diesel emissions matter since September 2015. It carried out an internal investigation, interviewing more than 700 Volkswagen staff, primarily in the context of criminal proceedings against Volkswagen in the United States. In March 2017, the Public Prosecution Office obtained a seizure order for the Jones Day offices in Munich and secured extensive documentation that stemmed from the internal investigation.

In July 2017, the Federal Constitutional Court ordered the Public Prosecution Office (Staatsanwaltschaft) München not to make use of the documents it seized and to have the documents put in custody with the Local Court (Amtsgericht) München, while the Federal Constitutional Court was considering the constitutional complaints (Verfassungsbeschwerden) filed by Volkswagen, Jones Day, and individual Jones Day lawyers. Today, shortly before the expiry of the second extension period, the court has dismissed all constitutional complaints.

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Case of the Week: Federal Supreme Court on Arbitrability of Shareholder Disputes – “Arbitrability III”

SRCoLDIn a recent decision, the Federal Supreme Court (Bundesgerichtshof) has held that shareholder disputes, and in particular challenges to shareholder resolutions (Beschlußmängelstreitigkeiten) in a limited partnership (Kommanditgesellschaft) are arbitrable in principle. The standards governing the arbitrability of disputes of that nature in the limited liability company (GmbH) apply to partnerships as well. The Federal Supreme Court refers to this decision as “Arbitrability III” (“Schiedsfähigkeit III”), so let’s briefly look at “Arbitrability I” and “Arbitrability II” to put this this decision into context: Continue reading

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Porsche/Volkswagen Litigation: Moving Slowly, One Step At A Time…

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We have not really covered the Porsche/Volkswagen saga for quite a long time – see here and here for posts on the jurisdictional journey of this litigation all across the country. Primarily, this was because not a lot has happened: Back in April 2014, the District Court (Landgericht) Hannover had published its order commencing a model proceeding (Musterverfahren) to be heard by the Court of Appeals (Oberlandesgericht) Celle (the order is available via the electronic register for model proceedings operated by the Federal Gazette at www.bundesanzeiger.de). Continue reading

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Securities Litigation in Germany: Volkswagen and The Fall-out of Dieselgate

Landgericht BraunschweigOn the blog, we have tracked the jurisdictional journey of securities litigation brought against Porsche in relation to its failed attempt to take over Volkswagen (see here and here, for example). Now, Volkswagen itself is at the centre of the most recent wave of big-time securities litigation. Investors are suing VW for failure to inform markets on time about the diesel emissions scandal, also known as Dieselgate. Jurisdictionally, things are pretty straightforward this time. The competent court, the Braunschweig District Court (Landgericht) issued a press release earlier this week on the current scope of the litigation. Continue reading

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