Hot Fuel multi-district litigation centered in the District of Kansas. The case involves almost every major oil company in the United States, and seeks to give consumers who purchase motor fuel at retail the same benefit the oil companies enjoy at every level of the distribution chain – to compensate for temperature. As the temperature in motor fuel rises, the volume of the motor fuel expands. But, the energy in that motor fuel stays the same – meaning less energy per cubic inch for the purchaser. For decades, the oil companies have used a U.S. petroleum gallon, which is equal to 231 cubic inches at 60 degrees Fahrenheit, to ensure that intra-industry fuel transfers were fair and consistent. Oil companies refuse to do the same, however, for consumers. Rather, the companies temperature correct only when it benefits them.
In Canada, where fuel is denser as a result of the cooler temperature, oil companies account for the temperature of fuel. But, in the United States, where the temperature is much warmer, the oil companies have fought for years to keep temperature correction off the market. Every year, the companies make billions off consumers in this country by selling hot, non-temperature-corrected fuel.
The hot fuel case encompasses consumer class actions in all southern states. The first hot fuel trial will be for consumers in the State of Kansas, and it’s set to take place in May, 2012. Previously, Judge Vratil of the District of Kansas certified an injunctive class for consumers in the State of Kansas. After the ruling, the Plaintiffs were also able to beat back the Defendants’ appeal of the Court’s class ruling. Recently, the Defendants filed 250 separate dispositive motions and Daubert motions. In the aggregate, those motions contained 7,000 pages of briefing and more than 50,000 pages of exhibits. While these are extremely difficult cases, we feel confident that the Defendants’ motions will be defeated.
Our firm’s Hot Fuel litigation team is led by Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee member Rhon Jones and Parker Miller, who are working very hard in the case. Parker is heading up the response briefs for Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee and Georgia. Helping Rhon and Parker on this project are Grant Cofer, Kyle Shirley, Ryan Kral and Will Fagerstrom, lawyers in the firm. They are all doing an outstanding job in what is a difficult, but very important case. If you have any questions about the Hot Fuel litigation, contact Parker Miller at Parker.Miller@beasleyallen.com, or Grant Cofer at Grant.Cofer@beasleyallen.com.
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