When the Volkwagen scandal about manipulated emissions readings first hit the headlines in September 2015, Jan-Eike Andresen and his partner Sven Bode thought: “Once again it’s the consumers who are the fall guys,” Mr. Andresen remembers. And their next thought was: “Can we do something about it?”
One year on, the two entrepreneurs had a plan in place. They launched Myright in the summer of 2016 together with a third partner, Jens Hopfer. This week, the legal start-up brought its second lawsuit for damages against Volkswagen.
“On their own, consumers have no chance against a company like VW,” Mr. Andresen, a lawyer, told Handelsblatt.
While VW will pay up to $10 billion to around 475,000 U.S. car owners affected by the scandal, it has yet to reach a deal with European consumers. That’s what Myright hopes to help change: The partners say they’re already representing more than 100,000 automobile owners and their vehicles in Germany.
There’s one major catch. In Germany, unlike the United States, there is no such thing as a class-action lawsuit in consumer law. So Myright is having to bring successive cases to court. It’s using the services of the renowned U.S. litigation specialist law firm Hausfeld, which has taken the lead in pushing for European compensation from VW, to do it. If VW doesn’t relent and agree to settle, Myright will have to bring every single case individually.