S&C Wins Dismissal of Antitrust Class Actions Against Volkswagen and Audi

June 28, 2019

On June 17, S&C obtained the dismissal of two putative class action complaints before the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California on behalf of Volkswagen, Audi and certain subsidiaries. In their complaints, the plaintiffs alleged that the automakers, along with BMW and Daimler, conspired to reduce innovation in German vehicles in violation of the Sherman Act and other antitrust and consumer protection laws.
 
S&C persuaded the court that the plaintiffs had not plausibly alleged “a de facto whole car conspiracy to reduce innovation” as required under the Sherman Act. In his decision, Judge Charles R. Breyer held that the only two agreements that the plaintiffs had described in any detail in their complaints were not “compelling examples” of agreements to make a product of inferior quality.
 
S&C currently serves as national coordinating counsel for Volkswagen in myriad federal and state litigation and investigations stemming from its diesel emissions matters. This win is the latest in a string of S&C victories for Volkswagen and its subsidiaries since S&C guided the company to its landmark $14.7 billion global settlement in 2016.
 
The S&C antitrust team was led by partners Sharon Nelles, Steve Holley, Suhana Han and Amanda Davidoff, and also included special counsel Elizabeth Rose and associate Samantha Hynes.