The law office handles large damage claims. The law office represented surviving dependants and people injured in the Eschede rail crash of 1998, which involved one of Deutsche Bahn’s high-speed ICE trains. 101 people were killed in this accident and more than 100 people injured. It is the worst rail accident in German history.
The law office also represented the American victims of the Deutsche Bahn rail accident which occurred in Brühl in February 2000, where nine people were killed and more than 100 injured. With this case we are also working closely together with US law offices.
In several cases the law office represents the interests of radiation victims. The biggest case concerns 900 radar technicians in the German Federal Armed Forces, the Bundeswehr. The radar technicians were operating military radar devices that exposed them to uncontrolled radiation caused by X-rays. As a result, these people have suffered serious illnesses and many of them have already died. In these cases we are also working together with several specialized law offices in the USA, which represent injured soldiers in various US States.
In addition, the law office represents numerous international clients, especially US citizens, in various pecuniary compensation proceedings. These proceedings are mostly held before German Courts. They involve simultaneous cooperation with legal colleagues in the USA and other countries.
Moreover, the law office is active in the field of international human rights, e.g. in connection with environmentally relevant large-scale projects in developing countries, such as the construction of an oil pipeline in Ecuador and a giant dam in Northern India. These cases aim to protect the rights of the indigenous population against expulsion and arbitrary rule of government. Furthermore, the intention is to ensure compliance with international environmental standards during the course of the different projects.
In the Federal Republic of Germany, the law office also handles cases concerning civil airports, military airfields and bombing ranges.
For example, the law office represents the largest neighboring community, the city of Offenbach, against the planned expansion of the Frankfurt/Main Airport. The main aim of the legal proceedings is to restrict night flights as far as is possible.
The law office took over a case concerning the Wittstock bombing range. It represents the affected neighboring communities against the use of 54 square miles of moor and woodland in the north of Berlin, which was used as a bombing range by the Soviet army from 1950 until 1990. Several final judgments have prohibited military use of the area by the German Federal Armed Forces, including low-level flights and bombings.
Other environmentally relevant cases handled by the law office are closely connected with the planning and construction of federal waterways, railway lines, highways, mining projects concerning the underground storage of oil and natural gas and proceedings to protect habitats according to European Community law.
In addition, in the field of building and regional planning law, the law office is involved in judicial review proceedings before the higher Administrative Courts and the German Federal Administrative Court, the Bundesverwaltungsgericht.
A traditional focus has been atomic energy and the radiation protection law. During the last 20 years, the law office has represented the respective government departments and affected neighboring communities in proceedings concerning the major German nuclear power plants, such as the “Schnelle Brüter” nuclear power station in Kalkar, the fuel elements plant in Hanau and the Krümmel nuclear power station. As a result of the law office’s legal action, a ruling by the German Federal Administrative Court has prohibited further operation of the Mühlheim-Kärlich nuclear power station. The power station will now definitely be shut down.
In addition, the law office has been representing the opponents of disposal sites planned for radioactive waste for a long time. In the “Endlager Gorleben“ case, we have represented Graf Bernstorff for more than 20 years. Graf Bernstorff is the owner of the salt mine in which the disposal site is to be constructed. We have been able to defeat all attempts to expropriate land from Graf Bernstorff and the local parishes.