US Sues Volkswagen, but Is Move Too Light?

Justice Department civil case could cost company billions
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 4, 2016 12:47 PM CST
The Volkswagen logo.   (AP Photo/Michael Probst, File)

(Newser) – The Justice Department is filing a civil suit against Volkswagen that could cost the automaker billions of dollars over its rigging of emissions tests, reports Reuters. The department is suing on behalf of the EPA, alleging that VW violated the Clean Air Act with its popular line of diesel vehicles, reports USA Today. While it may sound like a big move, the New York Times points out that the suit does not involve criminal charges or charges against any company executives, calling the development "something of a blow to the Obama administration's highly promoted new strategy for getting tough on corporate crime."

Still, Reuters notes that the suit doesn't preclude criminal charges in the future. "With today’s filing, we take an important step to protect public health by seeking to hold Volkswagen accountable for any unlawful air pollution, setting us on a path to resolution," says an EPA official. "So far, recall discussions with the company have not produced an acceptable way forward. These discussions will continue in parallel with the federal court action." (Tech execs including Elon Musk are floating a more imaginative resolution.)

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