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German court opens hearings on consumer suit against VW

FILE - In this Wednesday, Aug. 1, 2018 file photo, the logo of Volkswagen is seen on top of a company building in Wolfsburg, Germany. German prosecutors say they have charged Volkswagen chief executive Herbert Diess and chairman Hans Dieter Poetsch, along with former CEO Martin Winterkorn, with market manipulation in connection with the diesel emissions scandal that erupted in 2015. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn, file)

BERLIN — A German court has opened proceedings in a landmark case in which some 470,000 consumers aim to establish a right to compensation from automaker Volkswagen for cars affected by the company’s diesel emissions scandal.

The case, brought by the Federation of German Consumer Organizations and joined by hundreds of thousands of diesel owners, uses rules enacted last year allowing a form of class-action suit.

The new system was prompted in part by the scandal over Volkswagen’s use of software to turn emissions controls off when vehicles weren’t being tested, which was discovered in 2015.

News agency dpa reported that the Braunschweig state court declared the suit admissible as proceedings opened Monday, but Judge Michael Neef said the court will have to establish whether vehicle owners suffered any actual damages.

The Associated Press

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