Porsche Litigation Update: New York, Stuttgart, Braunschweig – Next Stop Hannover?

In the Porsche securities litigation, where billions are at stake following Porsche’s failed attempt to take over Volkswagen, actions have been brought in courts in New York, London, Stuttgart and Braunschweig. Whereas in New York and Stuttgart, it was so far all about jurisdiction – or the lack of it – Braunschweig has already ruled on the merits of these claims back in September 2012, when it dismissed the first two smaller actions against Porsche. So it came as a bit of a surprise when, in a hearing on April 17, 2013 that dealt with the second wave of bigger cases, the Braunschweig court showed some sympathy for an application made by one of the claimants to move the matter to another court.

The claimant’s request to transfer the case is based on that fact that its claim relies, in addition to securities law claims, on anti-trust theories. This could trigger the jurisdiction of a court with special jurisdiction over that type of cases. According to press reports, the judge in the hearing indicated that the argument had merit, and that the matter could be sent to Hannover or Frankfurt. Porsche’s lawyers heavily opposed the application, as it will further delay the matter. From their perspective, this is yet another trick to drag out a claims that lacks merits, only to create a nuisance value – the risks stemming from the litigation have so far blocked the planned Volkswagen/Porsche integration. The court will rule on the application on June 19, 2013.

The third wave of cases, which were to be transferred from New York to Braunschweig, apparently have now reached the court, and will be heard on October 30, 2013. Also, this post reminds me that I still need to cover the Merckle action and, more importantly, Porsche’s torpedo…

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