Justice Department files lawsuit against Volkswagen over Dieselgate emissions cheating scandal

The U.S. Justice Department has filed a lawsuit against Volkswagen AG over the emissions cheating scandal involving the company’s diesel-powered vehicles. Volkswagen could face as much as $48 billion in fines and penalties over the company’s deliberate efforts to mislead consumers and federal regulators over the emissions levels of its “TDI Clean Diesel” models.

The lawsuit against Volkswagen, which was filed on behalf of the EPA, accuses the German automaker of four counts of violating the Clean Air Act. These violations include tampering with the emissions control systems on its diesel vehicles and failing to report these violations to federal authorities.

Volkswagen admitted in September 2015 that it had intentionally installed computer “defeat devices” on diesel-powered VW and Audi models, which made the cars appear to emit lower levels of pollution than they actually did. The company also announced that it would recall 11 million diesel-powered vehicles worldwide, including nearly 600,000 in the U.S. Models involved in the initial VW recall included the 2010-2015 Audi A3 TDI, the 2012-2015 Volkswagen Beetle TDI, the 2012-2015 Volkswagen Beetle Convertible TDI, the 2010-2015 Volkswagen Golf TDI, the 2009-2015 Volkswagen Jetta TDI, the 2009-2014 Volkswagen Jetta Sportswagen TDI, and the 2012-2015 Volkswagen Passat TDI.

In November 2015, the EPA announced that it had discovered additional diesel-powered models that were affected by Volkswagen’s emissions cheating. These diesel vehicles included the 2009-2016 Volkswagen Touareg TDI, the 2014-2016 Audi A6 Quattro, the 2014-2016 Audi A7 Quattro, the 2014-2016 Audi A8 Quattro, the 2014-2016 Audi A8L Quattro, the 2014-2016 Audi Q5 Quattro, the 2009-2016 Audi Q7, andthe 2013-2015 Porsche Cayenne.

Prior to filing its lawsuit over the Dieselgate scandal, the Justice Department stated that Volkswagen could face up to $18 billion in fines over its emissions cheating. However, an analysis by Reuters of the Justice Department’s lawsuit against VW shows that the company could be facing significantly higher penalties for its emissions cheating: up to $3,750 per “defeat device” installed on its diesel vehicles and another $37,500 for each day of violation. Ultimately, the judge overseeing the Volkswagen diesel litigation will determine how much of the $48 billion maximum in fines and penalties VW will be forced to pay.

Although it has been several months since Volkswagen announced that it would recall hundreds of thousands of “TDI Clean Diesel” models in the U.S., the company has not yet reached an agreement with the Justice Department and the EPA about its plan for fixing the problems with these diesel vehicles caused by the emissions cheating. Any solution that VW proposes will likely mean a significant reduction in the performance and drivability of these vehicles from what drivers expected when they purchased their vehicles.

Lawsuits Filed Against VW Over Dieselgate Scandal

Numerous lawsuits have already been filed in the U.S. by Volkswagen and Audi drivers who are facing significant reductions to the value of their cars as a result of the emissions cheating scandal. Many VW and Audi owners face difficulties in selling their car or even having it inspected while VW develops a solution to fix the problems it caused by its emissions cheating.

If you purchased or lease a Volkswagen, Audi, or Porsche model involved in the VW emissions cheating scandal, you may qualify to file a lawsuit. The first step in taking legal action is to secure the services of an attorney with the knowledge and experience in handling class action and product liability litigation to help guide you through the process of filing a case.

If you purchased a 2009-2015 Volkswagen or Audi vehicle equipped with a diesel-powered engine, you may be eligible to take legal action. For a free legal consultation about your case and to learn more about whether you qualify to file a lawsuit, contact the law offices of Heygood, Orr & Pearson by calling toll-free at 1-877-446-9001. You can also reach us by following the link to our free case evaluation form and answering a few short questions about your case to get started.


Case results depend upon a variety of factors unique to each case. Results of other cases do not guarantee or predict a similar result in any future case.

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