Wyoming Transfers Federal Lawsuit Against Volkswagen To California
Wyoming has transferred its environmental lawsuit against the Volkswagen Group of America, Inc., to the federal court district of northern California, according to court records.
The state sued Volkswagen, Audi, Porsche and related firms two weeks ago alleging they approved and designed software technology to hide the emissions of nitrogen oxide, ozone and particulate matter in their diesel vehicles from 2009 to 2016 to pass pollution tests, according to the complaint filed by Attorney General Peter Michael — acting on behalf of Gov. Matt Mead — in U.S. District Court.
While Wyoming’s Department of Environmental Quality’s Air Quality Division enforces air pollution control laws, the state does not conduct vehicle emissions tests.
About 1,200 vehicles in Wyoming were affected by the technology.
Wyoming's lawsuit is now among more than 1,180 civil lawsuits with the same or similar claims pending in the federal court in San Francisco.
The lawsuit is associated with federal multidistrict class-action litigation entitled “Volkswagen ‘Clean Diesel’ Marketing, Sales Practices, and Products Liability Litigation” filed in U.S. District Court in San Francisco.
That was a fraud case. On Oct. 25, the court approved a $10 billion settlement by Volkswagen in this fraud case to either buy back or fix affected vehicles, establish a $2.7 billion environmental mitigation fund, and invest $2 billion in states to improve infrastructure, access and education to support zero emission vehicles.
In a separate partial settlement, Volkswagen agreed to pay civil penalties to more than 40 states including Wyoming of about $1,100 per car for violating consumer fraud laws of these states.
But the new Wyoming lawsuit asserts the fraud settlements aren’t enough. “The partial settlements do not address or resolve any claims for civil penalties for Defendants’ numerous environmental violations.”