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EU Court Advisor Says Owners Of Cars With Defeat Devices Have Right To Compensation

An advisor to the top European Union court says owners of vehicles equipped with emissions defeat devices have a right to compensation from car manufacturers.

The opinion was given in relation to a case brought against Mercedes-Benz by the purchaser of a used Mercedes C220 CDI. When the vehicle is used in cold temperatures, the gas recirculation system is reduced, increasing nitrogen oxide emissions. A court in Regensburg, Germany has “provisionally established” that this constituted an unlawful defeat device, Auto News reports.


Advocate General Athanasios Rantos of the Court of Justice of the European Union proposed that the court should protect the interests of an individual purchaser of a motor vehicle. Rantos also proposed EU laws that would require member states to provide a purchaser of a vehicle with a defeat device the right to compensation from the vehicle manufacturer.

In the case in Regensburg, Rantos said it is for the regional court to determine what extent offsetting the benefit of the actual use made of the motor vehicle against the reimbursement of the purchase price of the vehicle would provide adequate compensation for the purchaser. He added that it is the responsibility of EU member states to define the rules about how to properly calculate compensation and that the compensation “must be commensurate with the loss or damage sustained.”

German lawyer Claus Goldenstein says the determination means that negligent behavior of companies can be considered when making claims of this sort. Goldenstein represents 42,500 clients with interest in the court case.

Mercedes-Benz noted that it remains to be seen how the court will rule in this particular case and said that the opinion of the advisor is not binding



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