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

olg-celle

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).

Today, the Celle Court of Appeals issued a press release and announced that it had now appointed the model plaintiff (Musterkläger). The Court of Appeals at the same time published its procedural calendar: The model plaintiff has to file his comments on the order of the Hannover District Court until March 1, 2017. Subsequently, all other plaintiffs are invited to provide their comments (see Section 12 KapMuG), followed by submissions of the model defendants Porsche Automobil Holding SE and Volkswagen AG. Hearings are to start in late July 2017, and that the court has scheduled hearings between then and early October 2017.

The Kapitalanlegermusterverfahrensgesetz (Capital Market Investors’ Model Proceeding Act), or KapMuG for short, is the closest thing German law has to a class action. The key elements of KapMuG proceedings are briefly explained here and here. The model proceeding pending in Celle is bundling actions brought by 42 different plaintiffs, who are pursuing claims totalling billions of Euros against Porsche Automobil Holding SE and Volkswagen AG in relation to the failed attempt of Porsche to take over Volkswagen back in 2008.

The Court of Appeals in Celle is one of the smaller courts in the country. Given the number of plaintiffs and the anticipated attention of the media in these proceedings, the court will not actually sit in Celle, but in Hannover to hear the case.

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