By Y. Peter Kang, Law360
Law360, Los Angeles (September 30, 2015, 9:53 PM ET) -- Texas' Harris County lobbed a $100 million environmental suit against Volkswagen AG on Tuesday accusing it of using software to thwart emissions tests for its “clean diesel” vehicles, which the county attorney says is the first government lawsuit in connection with the emissions scandal.
Volkswagen Group of America Inc. is accused of fraudulently manipulating emission controls in its vehicles which resulted in polluting Harris County with harmful chemicals, according to an 11-page petition filed in Texas state court by the county, which includes Houston.
Harris County Attorney Vince Ryan is seeking civil penalties of more than $100 million for the 6,000 diesel Volkswagens sold in the county, noting that that number could escalate as the county's investigation continues.
“These tampered cars were emitting nitrogen oxides, or NOx, every day well in excess of legal limits,” Ryan said in a statement. “Volkswagen’s deceitful acts have damaged the county’s ability to improve air quality, reach clean air attainment status and protect our citizens.”