NEW YORK (Legal Newsline) — New York Attorney General Eric
T. Schneiderman, Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey and Maryland
Attorney General Brian Frosh have filed lawsuits against Volkswagen AG and its
affiliates, Audi AG and Porsche AG, as well as their U.S. subsidiaries. The
attorneys general argue that the automakers sold diesel vehicles fitted with
illegal “defeat devices” that concealed illegal harmful emissions.
“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,” Schneiderman said.
The complaints arose after a study by researchers at West
Virginia University found that diesel cars emitted more nitrogen oxides on the
road than they did in emissions tests. The lawsuits allege that the companies
tried to cover up the emission problem, failed to disclose the real reason for
the discrepancies, and only confessed to the true problem when regulators brought
forth all the facts.
“Volkswagen, Audi and Porsche defrauded thousands of
Massachusetts consumers, polluted our air, and damaged our environment and
then, to make matters worse, plotted a massive cover-up to mislead
environmental regulators,” Healey said.
Allegations also point to the highest levels of the
companies helping in the coverup – including former CEO, Martin Winterkorn.
“Maryland has worked tirelessly, through Maryland’s Healthy
Air Act and Clean Cars Act, as well as stringent regulations adopted by the
Department of the Environment, to clean our air,” Frosh said.