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Settlements in Kansas "hot fuel" litigation MDL

Consumer Reports actually ran the numbers and calls the theory that gasoline is a better bargain in the early morning because of cooler temperatures a myth; underground tanks change temperature very very little over the course of a day. Nevertheless, trial lawyers have proceeded with a gigantic putative class action against virtually every fuel retailer in the United States on the theory that they have committed consumer fraud by failing to disclose to consumers the basic law of physics that liquid expands with temperature, and thus a higher-temperature gallon has slightly fewer molecules than a lower-temperature gallon. Costco was the first to settle: $0 for supposedly injured consumers, and up to $10 million for the attorneys. The Center for Class Action Fairness objected, and that settlement is under review in the district court, with the plaintiffs using junk economics to argue that the settlement is worth $100 million to the class. Meanwhile, with trial scheduled to start next month, Shell, BP, and ConocoPhillips have announced settlements, though details are not available. One suspects, however, that they will similarly unfairly award the attorneys far more than consumers.

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Rafael Mangual
Project Manager,
Legal Policy

Manhattan Institute


Published by the Manhattan Institute

The Manhattan Insitute's Center for Legal Policy.