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Lawyers ramp up attack team in local VW suit

Legal woes: Volkswagen faces class action law suits over the diesel emissions cheating device found in some of its models.

Local law firm brings in heavy hitters to bolster team taking on VW in class action

20 Nov 2015

SMALL Sydney law firm Bannister Law has called in the legal big guns as it prepares a class action against Volkswagen Group Australia over the diesel emissions fiasco that still embroils the car company.

One of the most respected law firms in the world, the California-based Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan LLP, has joined forces with Bannisters, bringing with it a wealth of worldwide experience in the area of class action litigation – something that the Sydney law firm has not previously had.

The announcement follows the appointment of two of Australia’s most prominent legal identities to the class action.

Bret Walker SC, who has served as the president of the NSW Bar Association and president of the Law Council of Australia will lead the Bannister Law team, while Peter Cashman is considered one of Australia’s leading authorities in the area of class actions.

“This partnership, in addition to the retention of Mr Walker SC and Dr Cashman, were all about delivering plaintiffs in the two classes the best possible outcome,” said Bannister Law principal Charles Bannister.

“We remain the lead in the representative actions and we’re very serious about ensuring all 91,000 owners of affected vehicles receive justice.”

While firm numbers of owners who have signed on were not available, GoAuto understands that the number is in the “thousands”.

A case conference will be held on November 25 between the law team and the presiding judge from the Federal Court. This conference is the first interaction of its kind between the participants in the case.

Additionally, the legal firm Maurice Blackburn has also filed Federal Court proceedings against Volkswagen Australia, and claims to have more than 10,000 expressions of interest. The company will appear in the Federal Court for its own directions hearing on November 26.

Meanwhile, GoAuto understands that the Volkswagen Group is set to meet with the United States EPA on Saturday November 21 (Australian time), in a meeting that may well determine the amount of the fine to be levied by the US government’s environmental protection agency against the German car-maker.

EPA officials have previously stated that each of the 482,000 cars caught up in the cheat code scandal could warrant a fine of $37,500 ($A52,000) each, equalling a staggering $US18 billion ($A25 billion) should the full amount be levied.

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