In the latest development in the ongoing Volkswagen emissions scandal, the state of New York just slapped VW with a lawsuit for deliberately installing emissions-cheating devices in diesel cars. At a press conference today in New York City, Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman said, “the company sold over 25,000 cars to New Yorkers looking to buy a clean and green vehicle, and we know that those statements were nothing but lies.” The lawsuit is joined by an additional suit from Massachusetts, which alleges that VW sold over 40,000 vehicles with emissions “defeat devices” in the two states.
The Attorney General said, “The allegations against Volkswagen, Audi and Porsche reveal a culture of deeply-rooted corporate arrogance, combined with a conscious disregard for the rule of law and the protection of public health and the environment,” adding that, “These suits should serve as a siren in every corporate board room, that if any company engages in this type of calculated and systematic illegality, we will bring the full force of the law—and seek the stiffest possible sanctions—to protect our citizens.”
Schneiderman called the company’s actions “a wide-spread conspiracy involving many, many people.” The New York Attorney General made reference to a VW advertisement that aired during the 2010 Superbowl hailing the current Audi to be the “green car of the year,” adding that the ad was “the second most watched commercial in U.S. history.”
Schneiderman cited that the German automaker’s “defeat devices” were rigged to pass emissions testing, but that “when those cars were driven on a regular road, they were spewing emissions that were up to 40 times higher than the legal limit.”
Less than a month ago Volkswagen promised topay over $15.3bn to settle other consumer and government lawsuits for their emissions cheating. New York and Massachusetts combined are claiming that Volkswagen and its affiliates sold more than 40,000 vehicles in the two states armed with “defeat devices.” Both states have alleged that Volkswagen employees attempted to mask cheating by submitting false documents and suppressing incriminating paperwork.
Schneiderman and the Massachusetts Attorney General Healey launched the suit on VW as a massive warning to other car companies. Attorney General Healey said, “With today’s action, we want to make clear to all auto manufacturers that violating laws designed to protect our environment and our public health is unacceptable and will be punished with significant penalties.”
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