The Kansas City Star triggered a wave of class actions across the country when it estimated that expanding gas volumes in hot weather were costing consumers billions in hidden costs at the pump. Plaintiffs alleged that 80 retailers and oil refiners violated state laws by selling gas at temperatures above the industry standard of 60 degrees and asserted consumer fraud and conspiracy claims, alleging that defendants advertised and sold fuel at a specified price per gallon without disclosing or accounting for temperature variance.
The cases, filed across 28 states and territories, were consolidated into multidistrict litigation. Shook served as national counsel for 7-Eleven, QuikTrip Corp., Pilot, RaceTrac and eight other fuel refiners and retailers in 33 class actions around the country. Lawyers for the putative consumer class voluntarily dismissed 21 of the 52 cases, and the MDL was whittled down even further when a proposed settlement valued at $21M was reached with defendants represented by other firms.
In the first verdict in the resulting federal litigation, jurors found that Shook clients QuikTrip Corp., 7-Eleven Inc. and Kum & Go, L.C. did not violate the Kansas Consumer Protection Act by failing to disclose the effects of temperature on the gas they sell. Since that verdict, plaintiffs have dismissed all of the remaining cases against the defendants represented by the firm except for one remaining case involving two defendants. MDL 1840 In re: Motor Fuel Temperature Sales Practices Litigation, 2012 WL 4794355 (D. Kan. Oct. 3, 2012).