Product Liability And Recall


Liability for defective products

Following the publication of an Evaluation and Fitness Check Roadmap in September 2016, a European Commission consultation seeks views on the application and performance of Directive 85/374 on the liability for defective products. The Directive, in force since 1985, seeks to harmonise the law of member states relating to defective products, imposing strict liability on the producers of defective products.

The purpose of the consultation is to determine whether the Directive is still fit for purpose. To that end, the Commission has posed three online questionnaires seeking, respectively, the views of producers, consumers and public authorities. In particular, the consultation asks:

"whether and to what extent the Product Liability Directive meets its objectives of guaranteeing at EU level the liability without fault of the producer for damage caused by a defective product; whether it still corresponds to stakeholders' needs; if the Product Liability Directive is fit-for-purpose with regards to new technological developments such as the Internet of Things and autonomous systems." VW: An update on consumer claims

VW faces numerous legal actions relating to the emissions scandal. In addition to several regulatory and criminal actions being pursued by governments in various jurisdictions, VW faces claims from consumers, dealers, finance houses and investors. Below is a brief update on the status of some of the consumer class actions that have been filed:

United States

In February 2016, attorneys on behalf of consumers filed proposed class action suits in the District Court in California alleging VW engaged in widespread fraud in marketing its vehicles. Several class actions were consolidated and, on 25 October 2016, a California judge gave final approval for a USD 14.7 billion settlement with consumers and the federal government. Car owners will be able to either sell their cars back to VW at a price pre-scandal or obtain a free fix from VW. In addition, owners will also be able to claim compensation of between USD 5,000 and USD 10,000. In December 2016 an agreement in principle was reached regarding 3 litre engine vehicles. This deal was approved by the courts in February 2017.

Comments are to be submitted by 26 April 2017.

United Kingdom

Claimant law firm, Harcus Sinclair has applied for a group litigation order (GLO) to bring a case on behalf of c.10,000 British VW car owners. Other firms have been invited...

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