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EU court says Dieselgate vehicle owners can claim damages

BRUSSELS – Owners of vehicles equipped with so-called beat devices are entitled to compensation from the vehicle manufacturer, an adviser to the European Union’s top court said on Thursday in a lawsuit sue against Mercedes-Benz.

Beat devices are mechanisms or software that can change the medium emissions pollution levels, leading to disputes over whether manufacturers use them to conceal the true pollution levels of their vehicles. Volkswagen admitted in 2015 to using software to cheat US emissions tests on some diesel oil engine.

Judges of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) are not bound by the advice of their advocates in general, but follow them in the majority of cases.

German lawyer Claus Goldenstein, who represents 42,500 clients interested in the case, said the opinion was significant when it included the negligent, not just intentional, behavior of the companies, which This will make enforcement of claims easier.

General Athanasios Rantos of the Campaigner also said EU members must identify methods to calculate compensation, ensuring it is commensurate with the loss or damage suffered.

Mercedes-Benz said it still had to see how the court would rule and noted that the opinion was not binding.

The case was brought to the German court by the buyer Used Mercedes C 220 CDI, with exhaust gas recirculation system operating over a range of temperatures. At colder outside temperatures, circulation is reduced, resulting in increased nitrogen oxide emissions.

The court in Regensburg has provisionally determined that this constitutes an illegal beating device.

The German court asked the CJEU whether, under EU law, the buyer of a vehicle equipped with this device is entitled to compensation against the vehicle manufacturer and how this compensation should be calculated.

In May, Volkswagen said it would pay £193 million ($242 million) as part of an out-of-court settlement to about 91,000 British drivers over a diesel emissions scandal.

(Reporting by Philip Blenkinsop, Riham Alkousaa and Ilona Wissenbach Editing by Mark Potter)

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