Beasley Allen attorney Rhon Jones will represent clients participating in Multidistrict Litigation (MDL) for a consolidated class action captioned “In re Motor Fuel Temperature Sales Practices Litigation, MDL Docket No 1840.” Three firms will serve as co-lead counsel, with an additional six firms, including Beasley Allen, on the steering committee.

Numerous putative class actions were brought throughout the U.S. against motor fuel retailers, including Costco Wholesale Corp., alleging they have been overcharging drivers by selling gasoline or diesel that is warmer than 60 degrees without adjusting the volume sold to compensate for heat-related expansion or disclosing the effect of such expansion on the energy equivalent received by the consumer.

According to research conducted by Santa Monica-based Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights (FTCR), under its OilWatchDog project, gasoline expands measurably with heat, causing it to lose mass and energy. Retailers sell gasoline by a measured volume gallon, based on the national standard that the fuel averages a temperature of 60 degrees.

In warm-weather states, FTCR points out, consumers are getting less fuel for their money. For example, if gasoline is at 90 degrees in temperature, the consumer has lost about 2 percent of mass and energy. Based on a price of $4 per gallon, that translates to a loss of eight cents for every gallon, the FTCR says.

On June 18, 2007, the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation assigned the action to Judge Kathryn Vratil of the U.S. District Court for the District of Kansas.

On Aug. 28, 2007, Judge Vratil held an initial scheduling conference in this proceeding, and ordered plaintiffs to file a consolidated complaint on Oct. 19, 2007. A briefing schedule on challenges to this consolidated complaint was set with a hearing Jan. 11, 2008. On Feb. 21, 2008, the U.S. District Court for the District Court of Kansas denied a motion seeking the dismissal of the consolidated class action.

Learn more about “hot fuel” litigation.

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