October 9, 2015 — Texas State Attorney General Ken Paxton has slapped Volkswagen (VW) with two lawsuits for violating consumer protection and clean-air laws by selling cars that cheat emissions tests.
The first lawsuit (PDF) accuses VW of deceiving consumers by falsely advertising the cars as environmentally-friendly, fuel-efficient “clean diesel” — and charging up to $7,000 more for the cars.
The second lawsuit accuses VW of violating the Clean Air Act by selling cars that spewed up to 40X the acceptable levels of nitrogen oxide, a toxic gas that causes respiratory problems.
In a statement, Attorney General Paxton said:
“For years, Volkswagen intentionally misled consumers about the environmental and performance qualities of the vehicles they sold in Texas. When companies willfully violate the public’s trust, a penalty must be paid, and we will hold these entities responsible.”
Harris County filed the first government lawsuit, claiming 6,000 cars on local roads were causing poor air quality. The city of Dallas has also filed a lawsuit claiming violations of air-quality emissions laws.
Meanwhile, top executives denied any knowledge of the scandal and said the decision was the work of a few rogue engineers, rather than corporate. VW also said it could take up to two years to fix 480,000 cars in the United States with the device. In the meantime, VW will stop selling new diesel cars until they can meet emissions standards.