RIDGEWOOD, N.J. -- New Jersey has filed a lawsuit against Volkswagen Group of America alleging fraud on consumers and violation of the state's clean air statutes.
“For the past decade Volkswagen engaged in one of the largest frauds in the history of the automobile industry,” said the state’s lawsuit. “It developed and distributed into the marketplace sophisticated software to evade emissions requirements, it misled regulators about the true environmental impact of its vehicles and it misled consumers about the products that it was marketing as supposedly good for the environment.”
The suit alleges Volkswagen "profited greatly" from developing and promoting diesel vehicles with pollution control systems that only activated during emissions testing. It also alleges the vehicles emitted nitric oxides in unlawful qualities.
“Our lawsuit alleges that Volkswagen put profit ahead of honesty, integrity, fair business practices and – most disturbing of all – the well-being of people living and breathing the air here in New Jersey and across the country,” said Acting Attorney General John Hoffman. “Like any other business – large or small – auto makers have an obligation to represent the products they sell honestly, and to ensure those products comply with all applicable laws. "When they fail to do so, as we allege was the case with Volkswagen, we will hold them accountable.”
According to state records, approximately 17,420 affected vehicles have been registered in New Jersey.
The lawsuit also suggests car owners are now saddled with stigmatized vehicles with diminished resale values due to the scandal.
The suit seeks a court finding that Volkswagen acted illegally and the imposition of maximum civil penalties for the alleged violations of the Air Pollution Control Act and Consumer Fraud Act. It also seeks restitution for the consumers materially harmed by the scandal.
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