© 2024 KGOU
News and Music for Oklahoma
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Oklahoma’s Lawsuit Against Volkswagen Likely To Be Tried In California

Volkswagen grill
Benjamin Shaw
Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

A consumer protection lawsuit the state filed against Volkswagen is on hold for another month. A federal judge turned down Attorney General Scott Pruitt’s request that the Volkswagen lawsuit should be handled in state court.

The judge wrote that a judicial panel will decide later this month whether to bundle Oklahoma’s lawsuit with others that involve “common questions of fact.”

Pruitt said he filed the claim locally because he wanted to get more money out of VW for alleged fraud in marketing its Clean Diesel autos, The Journal Record’s Dale Denwalt reports:

Instead of signing on to larger litigation involving most states, Oklahoma filed a lawsuit in local district court citing consumer protection violations. The complaint alleges that VW claimed it solved the engineering problem of an environmentally conscious car that also had favorable torque and fuel economy, but that real-world emissions tests showed the opposite. Volkswagen successfully removed the lawsuit to federal court, and Pruitt asked the court to give a speedy review on whether the case should be remanded back to Oklahoma courts. Pruitt argued that Oklahoma is the best venue because Volkswagen allegedly violated state law.

If the judicial panel rules that Oklahoma’s lawsuit should be combined with others, the case will be handled in northern California’s federal court.

By filing his own lawsuit, Pruitt missed out on a share of $11 billion Volkswagen agreed to pay in a settlement earlier this year.

Oklahoma is asking for $7.71 million in penalties for the 3,855 affected vehicles registered in the state and another $10,000 per violation of state law. The lawsuit also asks the court to reimburse the state for research and investigation expenses, plus attorney fees. In a nationwide settlement, Volkswagen agreed to pay another state with a similar number of cars, Kentucky, nearly $3.5 million in civil penalties and at least $5,100 to each car owner, the Associated Press reported. In all, Volkswagen agreed to pay up to $11 billion to the federal government, states, and car owners. It will also spend $2.7 billion for an environmental remediation fund and invest $2 billion to promote zero-emission vehicles.

KGOU is a community-supported news organization and relies on contributions from readers and listeners to fulfill its mission of public service to Oklahoma and beyond. Donate online, or by contacting our Membership department.

Brian Hardzinski is from Flower Mound, Texas and a graduate of the University of Oklahoma. He began his career at KGOU as a student intern, joining KGOU full time in 2009 as Operations and Public Service Announcement Director. He began regularly hosting Morning Edition in 2014, and became the station's first Digital News Editor in 2015-16. Brian’s work at KGOU has been honored by Public Radio News Directors Incorporated (PRNDI), the Oklahoma Association of Broadcasters, the Oklahoma Associated Press Broadcasters, and local and regional chapters of the Society of Professional Journalists. Brian enjoys competing in triathlons, distance running, playing tennis, and entertaining his rambunctious Boston Terrier, Bucky.
More News
Support nonprofit, public service journalism you trust. Give now.