Volkswagen Seeks Dismissal of U.S. Investor Class-Action Lawsuit

  • Company cites American landmark case that also helped Porsche
  • VW says U.S. courts can’t hear cases on foreign-market trades

Volkswagen AG asked a U.S. district court to dismiss a class-action lawsuit filed on behalf of investors, arguing the tribunal can’t hear disputes over shares trading mostly in Germany.

The filing urges the judge in the court for the northern district of California to rely on a 2010 landmark Supreme Court ruling that says litigation over shares traded outside the U.S. can’t be heard in the country, VW said Tuesday in an e-mailed statement. Among the cases VW cited is also one by its holding company Porsche SE, which won dismissal of a $2 billion hedge fund case filed in the Manhattan U.S. district court. 

Volkswagen was sued by several pension funds, including the Arkansas State Highway Employees’ Retirement System and the Miami Police Relief & Pension Fund, which invested in VW’s American depositary receipts. The plaintiffs allege that the company defrauded them by misinforming about the dimension of the scandal involving software that allowed millions of cars to cheat emissions tests. The value of the ADRs have fallen 20 percent since the start of the scandal, similar to the decline of the German shares.

The carmaker is facing various investor lawsuits in Germany. A case filed in March by 278 institutional investors is seeking 3.3 billion euros ($3.4 billion) after more than $20 billion was wiped from the carmaker’s market value. The California State Teachers’ Retirement System and other institutional investors filed a suit in June, asking for as much as 700 million euros in damages.

Braunschwieg prosecutors are also investigating former Chief Executive Officer Martin Winterkorn for market market manipulation over the issue. VW has denied the allegation.