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$30M Texas verdict against SunMart



Was a Texas gas company fraudulently shortchanging customers, or was it a function of a statistical calibration error? A $30M jury verdict rides on the answer. And, quite frankly, it's a simple matter of math: did the errors systematically disfavor the consumer such that it could not have occurred by chance, or were they randomly distributed with the realm of chance and tolerances and the lawyers cherry-picked? I have no idea who's right, but only one of the two competing experts would have been testifying consistent with the laws of probability, so it's disturbing that the Houston Chronicle (via ABAJ) simply treats it as a "he said, she said" issue, since it suggests that the judge let both testify. (Ceteris paribus, I'm inclined to believe the Texas attorney general in this case if, as they claim, there was an attempt at last-minute calibration once a raid began. But given the availability of statistical evidence, there's no reason for the ceteris to be paribus.)

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Isaac Gorodetski
Project Manager,
Center for Legal Policy at the
Manhattan Institute
igorodetski@manhattan-institute.org

Katherine Lazarski
Press Officer,
Manhattan Institute
klazarski@manhattan-institute.org

 

Published by the Manhattan Institute

The Manhattan Insitute's Center for Legal Policy.