Government Law

County sues Volkswagen for $100M, seeks civil penalties for violation of emissions laws

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In what may be the first such lawsuit against Volkswagen, a Texas county has filed a complaint seeking an estimated $100 million in damages over alleged violations of local vehicle emissions laws.

Harris County doesn’t have any Volkswagens in its fleet, but is seeking in its complaint (PDF) to address estimated air pollution from some 6,000 VW vehicles being driven there, the Houston Chronicle reports.

The Insurance Journal reports that the case was filed in the 234th Judicial District in Houston on Tuesday.

It seeks to assess daily civil penalties against the company, for each vehicle, as well as reimbursement for attorney fees and costs.

Sarah Utley, an assistant county attorney who handles environmental enforcement matters, tells the Insurance Journal that the county will encourage other major counties in Texas to participate in the litigation.

Volkswagen is already facing a recall and a criminal investigation, as well as dozens of civil suits over alleged rigging of at least a half-million vehicles to recognize and comply with emissions tests yet spew far higher levels of pollutants in daily driving.

Related coverage: “Dozens of VW lawsuits will almost surely be consolidated, but where?”

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