States to Sue VW Over Diesel Scandal

By and | July 19, 2016

New York and Maryland are among several states planning to sue Volkswagen AG over the environmental damage done by devices that were designed by the carmaker to cheat on pollution-control tests.

Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh said Monday in a statement that he’s acting in coordination with the attorneys general of New York and Massachusetts, among others. He said a press conference is scheduled for Tuesday in Baltimore.

The suit will hold the German company accountable “for the pollution they’ve caused and for violating Maryland’s environmental laws as a result of defrauding regulators by using ‘defeat devices’ for emissions control,” according to Frosh’s statement.

[Editor’s Note: Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey and New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman will jointly announce today at 12:30 p.m. that they have filed lawsuits against Volkswagen AG and its affiliates for environmental misconduct. The press conference will be streamed live.]

VW’s settlements in June set an auto-industry record of $15.3 billion that will only go higher as criminal probes and lawsuits on three continents roll ahead. They didn’t bar states from suing individually over environmental damage from the added pollution.

Swift Resolution

The accords marked a swift but partial resolution for the company in the U.S. after the Wolfsburg, Germany-based carmaker admitted last September to systematically rigging environmental tests since 2009 to hide the fact that its diesel vehicles were emitting far more pollutants than allowed under U.S. and California law.

Matt Mittenthal, a spokesman for New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, declined to comment on the litigation. Jillian Fennimore, a spokeswoman for Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey, wasn’t immediately available for comment.

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