S&C Obtains Dismissal of Securities Claims Against Volkswagen Over European Commission Disclosures

June 7, 2021

Volkswagen AG secured the dismissal with prejudice of a purported securities class action brought by holders of American Depository Receipts against the company and current and former executives in a May 20 ruling. The lawsuit mirrored allegations brought in two private antitrust suits asserting that Volkswagen and its subsidiaries Audi and Porsche had been engaged in a “no arms race” conspiracy with two other German automakers to limit innovation in new vehicles. S&C obtained the dismissal with prejudice of the antitrust lawsuits last October for Volkswagen, Audi and Porsche.
 
The plaintiffs in the securities action alleged that statements in Volkswagen's annual reports from 2012 through 2016 were false or misleading and violated U.S. securities laws based on Volkswagen's voluntary disclosure to the European Commission about potential antitrust violations under European law. These disclosures included statements about commodity pricing, Volkswagen's corporate culture, its compliance with International Financial Reporting Standards, and statements about competition in the automobile market.
 
Judge Dora Irizarry of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York agreed with the defendants that the plaintiffs failed to identify any law that Volkswagen violated. The court also found persuasive that Judge Charles Breyer in the Northern District of California had dismissed with prejudice the related antitrust complaints.
 
The team representing Volkswagen and the individual defendants includes Robert Giuffra, Jr., Suhana Han, Justin DeCamp, Jason Kornmehl, Stephanie Freudenberg and Stephen Marietta.