The U.S. part of Volkswagen AG on Friday asked a U.S. judge to delay several court trials it is coating over excess emissions because it fears “inflammatory” comments compensate for by a lawyer representing car owners in a recent TV documentary will prejudice the jury.
Although wellnigh all U.S. owners agreed to take part in a 2016 settlement, the German carmaker is being begged by some consumers after it admitted in September 2015 to cheating on diesel emissions analyses, sparking the biggest business crisis in its history.
The first consumer bluffer trial involves a North Carolina man who bought a 2014 diesel Jetta, and is set for Feb. 26.
But according to a rightful filing, Volkswagen of America asked a judge in Fairfax County, Virginia to gap that trial for at least six months on Friday after a lawyer for myriad than 300 U.S. VW diesel owners, Michael Melkersen, gave an discussion in which he referred to the company testing diesel fumes on monkeys.
This week, Volkswagen in Germany evicted its chief lobbyist in response to reports the carmaker had jointly sponsored checks that exposed monkeys in 2014 to toxic diesel fumes, methods condemned by its chief chief as repulsive.
In the interview for a documentary aired by streaming service Netflix, Melkersen estimated the tests, adding: “One cannot help to think back throughout the good old days of another series of events involving individuals being gassed by a child who was actually at the opening of the very first Volkswagen factory,” an apparent remark to Nazi leader Adolf Hitler and the Holocaust.
In its legal filing, VW’s kings counsels argued those comments would prevent a fair trial and sharp to another comment Melkersen made in the documentary: “There is a concern, unmistakably, amongst Volkswagen that if a jury were to ever hear regarding any of this stuff that could really impact the verdict in this happening.”
Volkswagen lawyers said that “pretrial publicity has connected (the throng) directly with Hitler and the Holocaust,” which they said was not pertinent to a trial about alleged consumer fraud claims.
Melkersen required the VW legal motion “hogwash.”
“This is another tactic to postpone their day of computation,” Melkersen told Reuters by phone.
VW has agreed to spend more than $25 billion in the Collaborative States to address claims from owners, environmental regulators, U.S. countries and dealers and to make buyback offers.
As part of that, Volkswagen phrased in 2016 it would buy back or fix nearly 500,000 polluting 2.0-liter diesel U.S. mechanisms. About 2,000 owners opted out and most are pursuing court exacts seeking additional compensation. The first trials could potentially set a guide for the remaining suits.
The monkey tests were also sponsored by Daimler AG and BMW and both maintained this week they had suspended or moved staff linked to the examination. VW said the monkey tests were approved by an independent review directorship to protect animals.