WASHINGTON Oct 17 The state of Missouri sued
Volkswagen AG on Monday, becoming the 17th U.S.
state to take legal action against the German automaker over its
cheating on diesel emissions.
Separately, U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer on Tuesday in
San Francisco is set to hold a hearing on whether to grant final
approval to a $10.033 billion settlement with 475,000 owners of
2.0-liter Volkswagen vehicles. The proposed settlement would
allow owners to sell back their polluting vehicles or get a fix
if regulators approve.
Late on Monday, Breyer made public hundreds of pages of
objections from owners. Many of them argued that Volkswagen is
not offering a high enough buyback price for polluting vehicles
or repaying them for some out of pocket costs, such as extended
warranties. Most owners will get additional compensation of
$5,100 to $10,000 for selling vehicles back or getting them
Missouri's lawsuit adds to the financial risks for
Volkswagen from suits filed by state regulators who are seeking
financial penalties in addition to any federal or civil claims
the automaker will pay. The 16 other states that have sued
Volkswagen include California, New York, Texas and New Jersey.
The state of Washington in July lodged an administrative
proceeding against the German automaker seeking $176 million.
"Volkswagen's actions demonstrate a flagrant disregard for
Missouri's environmental laws, as well as the health and welfare
of Missourians," Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster said in
a statement on Monday.
In August, Volkswagen agreed to hold settlement talks with
at least four U.S. states and Washington state starting no later
than November 1.
VW spokeswoman Jeannine Ginivan said on Monday the company
"is committed to reaching a fair and efficient resolution of
remaining federal and state diesel claims in the United States."
She said the automaker "will review Missouri's complaint and
Volkswagen has already agreed to pay a total of $16.7
billion in settlements related to its use of illegal software to
defeat U.S. emissions testing. The company has set aside 17.8
billion euros ($19.94 billion) cover legal costs stemming from
VW still faces potentially billions of dollars in additional
U.S. costs if it is forced to buy back 85,000 3.0-liter Audi,
Porsche and VW cars and SUVs sold since 2009.
($1 = 0.8928 euros)
(Reporting by David Shepardson)