A string of victories continue for consumers in the Hot Fuel Multi-District Litigation (MDL) consolidated in Kansas City, Kan. After District of Kansas Judge Kathryn Vratil granted class certification for the bell weather Kansas class, big oil companies appealed the certification ruling to the Tenth Circuit. On August 31st, the Tenth Circuit struck down the oil companies’ appeal, ensuring that the litigation would move forward. To say these are significant rulings would be an understatement.
The Hot Fuel litigation seeks to hold big oil companies accountable for cheating consumers out of the gasoline they pay for. As the temperature rises in motor fuel, the fuel expands but its energy stays the same. In intra-oil industry transfers, oil companies adjust for the effects temperature has on gasoline and diesel. However, when selling to consumers, oil companies do not compensate for temperature. The result is more gallons of fuel for the big oil companies to sell, albeit with less energy per gallon for consumers had the oil companies adjusted for temperature.
The oil companies have had the technology to resolve the motor fuel temperature issue for decades. In fact, they are using it as you read this article at every level of the fuel distribution process – except at retail. In Canada, where the volume of motor fuel shrinks and consumers actually gain as a result of the cool temperatures, the oil companies retrofitted over 90% of their pumps in just a few years. However, the same companies argue that the technology doesn’t exist to retrofit pumps, would require years of studies to determine whether it even works, and is simply too expensive to implement in the United States.
Rhon Jones, who heads up our firm’s Toxic Torts Section, is a member of the Plaintiffs’ steering committee and serves as offensive discovery chair of the litigation. He and Parker Miller, who is also in this section, are playing pivotal roles in the litigation. Currently, the parties are awaiting the Court’s order to reopen discovery and proceed towards trial. While this is a difficult and complex case, we are fighting to make a difference. If you have questions regarding the litigation, you can contact Rhon or Parker at Rhon.Jones@beasleyallen.com and Parker.Miller@beasleyallen.com, or by telephone at 800-898-2034.
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