US Files Civil Suit Against Volkswagen for Environment Violations

Lawsuit penalties for tampering with emission regulation tests could cost Volkswagen billions of dollars. 

Updated
Car and Bike
1 min read
Volkswagen emblem.  (Photo: iStockphoto)

The US Justice Department has filed a civil lawsuit against Volkswagen AG for allegedly violating the Clean Air Act by installing illegal devices to impair emission control systems in nearly 600,000 vehicles.

The allegations in the lawsuit carry penalties that could cost Volkswagen billions of dollars, a senior Justice Department official said.

The United States will pursue all appropriate remedies against Volkswagen to redress the violations of our nation’s clean air laws. We’re alleging that they knew what they were doing, they intentionally violated the law and that the consequences were significant to health.

John Cruden, Assistant Attorney General, Environment and Natural Resources

The Justice Department lawsuit accuses Volkswagen of four counts of violating the US Clean Air Act, including tampering with the emissions control system and failing to report violations.

The lawsuit is being filed in the Eastern District of Michigan and then transferred to Northern California, where class-action lawsuits against Volkswagen are pending.

The Justice Department has also been investigating criminal fraud allegations against Volkswagen for misleading US consumers and regulators. Criminal charges will require a higher burden of proof than the civil lawsuit.

The civil lawsuit does not preclude the Justice Department from pursuing criminal charges against Volkswagen, said the Justice Department official.

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