Minnesota sues Volkswagen over emissions scandal

Published 10:41 am Friday, December 9, 2016

MINNEAPOLIS — Minnesota’s attorney general sued Volkswagen on Thursday, saying the German automaker violated state laws when it sold diesel vehicles in the state with special systems designed to defeat U.S. emissions tests.

The lawsuit, filed in Hennepin County District Court, says Volkswagen sold or leased more than 11,500 of the diesel vehicles in Minnesota from 2008 through 2015, and alleges the company violated state anti-tampering laws and environmental regulations.

The lawsuit, which seeks unspecified civil penalties, is separate from previous state and federal litigation with Volkswagen over the diesel emissions cheating scandal. The company already has agreed to pay $15 billion under a settlement approved in October with U.S. authorities and owners of some 500,000 vehicles with software that turned off emissions controls. But it’s still facing potentially billions more in fines and penalties and possible criminal charges.

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Minnesota settled its consumer fraud claims against the automaker for $11.5 million in June and is eligible for another $43 million under the federally negotiated $15 billion settlement of certain environmental claims, according to Attorney General Lori Swanson’s office. But Minnesota reserved the right to press its claims under state laws and regulations against tampering with pollution control systems, leading to this lawsuit.