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Judge Clears Way for Investor Claims Against Volkswagen

By William Vogeler, Esq. on September 12, 2018 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Volkswagen just can't get away from the foul-smelling fallout of Dieselgate.

After settling with regulators last year, it looked like the company could move on from charges that it cheated on emissions tests. Investors also claimed the automaker misled them about compliance with emissions regulations, but a judge dismissed the case.

The judge also gave the plaintiffs leave to amend, however. Now the automaker is back in the thick of it.

Misleading Statements

Judge Charles Beyer said the bondholders sufficiently alleged that Volkswagen used misleading statements and omissions in an offering memo to solicit investors in the proposed class-action. The memo was used to sell $8.3 billion in bonds between May 2014 and May 2015.

Volkswagen has paid billions to settle claims over the emissions scandal. In 2016, it agreed to pay $14.7 billion in buybacks and cash payments for some 500,000 U.S. drivers. Last year, the company paid $4.3 billion to settle civil and criminal charges with U.S. regulators.

But the company has not settled every case, and denies that it deceived investors. "Volkswagen continues to believe that these claims are without merit, which we intend to make clear as this case proceeds," Volkswagen Group of America spokesperson Mike Tolbert said.

Bottom Line

According to reports, Dieselgate has cost the automaker more than $30 billion in recalls, fines, and settlements. Last week, Volkswagen agreed to pay $48 million to settle a separate securities case.

Despite the fallout, however, the company has posted record sales in recent years. The judge also gave the company some good news in the investor suit by dismissing -- without leave to amend -- insider trading claims against executives.

In the meantime, Volkswagen has until September 28 to answer the complaint.

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