On 30 March 2022, the Amsterdam District Court rendered judgment in the case of Stichting Diesel Emissions Justice versus Volkswagen et al. Amsterdam District Court 30 March 2022, ECLI:NL:RBAMS:2022:1541 In this dispute, the foundation is claiming, inter alia, damages from Volkswagen et al. because it manufactured and sold diesel cars with “cheating” software. In this judgment, the District Court rendered a decision on jurisdiction and applicability of the WAMCA.
Because this dispute contains international aspects (defendants domiciled in various EU countries), the District Court is obliged by law to first decide whether it has jurisdiction to assess the substance of the claims. The claims of the foundation involve the peculiarity that not all the claims have been lodged against all the defendants for the benefit of the same groups of persons whose interests the foundation claims to represent. According to the District Court, this affects the assessment of jurisdiction, which is why it distinguishes between persons who purchased a vehicle in the Netherlands and persons who purchased a vehicle in another country of the European Union. The dealers and the importer are all domiciled in the Netherlands. The claim lodged against them that serves to protect similar interests of persons residing in the Netherlands who purchased a vehicle in the Netherlands is therefore not of an international nature. The Dutch court has jurisdiction with regard to that claim. These defendants can act as anchor defendant with regard to the claim against the car manufacturers and the software manufacturer that serves to protect the similar interests of persons who purchased a vehicle in the Netherlands; after all, there is a sufficiently close connection between the aforementioned claims. According to the District Court, this close connection is lacking with regard to the claim aimed at protecting the similar interests of persons who purchased a vehicle in another country of the European Union. With regard to that claim, the District Court finds that it has no jurisdiction on the basis of Article 8(1) Brussels I Regulation Recast. Nor can jurisdiction with regard to that claim be derived from Article 7(2) Brussels I Regulation Recast, because the place of the act (handlungsort) and the place where the damage occurred (erfolgsort) is not located in Amsterdam, according to the District Court.
The District Court subsequently gave an opinion on the applicability of the WAMCA. The WAMCA applies if the claim is lodged after 1 January 2020 and the harmful event or events occurred on or after 15 November 2016. The District Court finds that the initial, common and essential harmful event to which the legal claim and the proceedings pertain is, in this case, the putting in place of the illegal manipulation tool. That is why, according to the District Court, Article 3:305a (old) DCC applies in this case.