Attorney General Andy Beshear files lawsuit against Volkswagen

03/22/2016 02:05 PM

FRANKFORT — Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear is taking aim at German automaker Volkswagen and its connected brands claiming the company violated the state’s consumer protection act.

Beshear filed a lawsuit against Volkswagen, Porsche and Audi in Franklin Circuit Court on Tuesday claiming the multinational corporation took advantage of consumers with a diesel emissions cheating scheme.

In a press conference, Beshear said he would fight to have the German automaker face charges in the Kentucky court system.

In the suit, Beshear claims Volkswagen willfully violated the Kentucky Consumer Protection Act when the brand promoted Turbocharged Direct Injection diesel engine cars as having “clean diesel” technology.

“Our consumer protection act makes this a case that we can and should bring as a state,” Beshear said. “We have this specific act to prevent companies like this, or any company, for intentionally deceiving Kentuckians.”

The lawsuit will seek civil penalties, restitution on behalf of nearly 3,800 consumers and an injunction “to make sure this never happens in the future.”

“We want to make sure our consumers, and those outside of our borders are never taken advantage of by this blatant of a lie, by this company ever again,” he said.

Since being caught with the “cheat devices,” Beshear said Volkswagen officials have admitted to breaking the public trust as well as deceiving emissions and air regulators. The on-the-record apology could potentially bolster Kentucky’s case.

Four other states – New Jersey, New Mexico, Texas and West Virginia — have also filed suit against the automaker over the devices, according to the Attorney General’s Office.

For Kentucky, the case starts with the complaint filed in Franklin Circuit Court. Beshear predicted the company might try and move the complaint to a federal court or multidistrict litigation, but Beshear said he would oppose those efforts.

“The Kentucky Consumer Protection Act I believe should be tried right here in Kentucky,” he said.

Volkswagen sold or leased 580,000 of the vehicles and in the United States and 11 million worldwide, according to the Attorney General’s Office.

Earlier this month the company was sued for $3.7 billion in Germany.


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