Deutsche See files lawsuit against Volkswagen for ‘malicious deception’

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The first step by German processor Deutsche See in the complaint for ‘malicious deception’ against Volkswagen was successful, according to the company.

Deutsche See filed the lawsuit for fraudulent deception on 3 February 2017. The company, headquartered in Bremerhaven, Germany, was the first large customer (almost 500 vehicles affected) to file a complaint against Volkswagen, after challenging all contracts, demanding a compensation of 11.9 million euros.

The origin of the lawsuit dates back as far as 2009. In that year Deutsche See and VW signed an agreement to promote environmentally sustainable mobility. The Volkswagen group assured Deutsche See that it would be able to deliver a fleet that met these objectives. It was agreed that both companies would jointly develop the environmentally friendly transport. For this reason, Deutsche See converted its entire fleet to the Volkswagen group, as Deutsche See explained in several press releases about the matter.

Deutsche See set itself the target of significantly reducing the CO2 values of its own fleet, by using electric vehicles and reducing the environmental impact of its vehicles.

In 2015 Deutsche See found out through the media that VW vehicles’ emission values had not only not fallen, but had increased. After several unsuccessful attempts to solve this internally with VW, Deutsche See decided to take the matter to court.

Unpleasant development

“We are very happy and satisfied that we have succeeded in presenting our position in a clear and convincing manner. It was clear to us from the start that it would be a David-versus-Goliath process and yet we have come a long way closer to our defined goals,” said Egbert Miebach, Managing Director of Deutsche See.

He also stated that this was a very unpleasant development, after more than 50 year of good cooperation between the two companies.

“Deutsche See only entered into partnership with VW because VW  promised the most environmentally friendly, sustainable mobility concept. This was clear to both parties. After seven years of cooperation, we are not a step closer to this goal and we were deliberately deceived. That is why we took this to court,” Miebach explains.

At the trial, Volkswagen, only represented by a law firm, underlined its current position, which led to the complaint. The topics agreed in the cooperation between Deutsche See and Volkswagen, such as the joint development of e-mobility, sustainable vehicle logistics, were not implemented by VW. Volkswagen employees, with whom the contracts had been negotiated and agreed, were no longer with the company.

Deutsche See, headquartered in Bremerhaven, is Germany’s number one producer of fish and seafood, salmon being one of their main products. The company employs over 1,700 people in 20 branches throughout Germany and Bremerhaven and supplies more than 35,000 customers, from food retailers and gastronomy to caterers.