Exxon Verdict Upheld

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Exxon Verdict Upheld

06/13/2003
ATLANTA -- A federal appeals court upheld a $500 million judgment against Exxon that will compensate 10,000 gas station owners who claimed the company overcharged them for gasoline for 12 years.

The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta announced the ruling Friday. The case dates to 1982, when Exxon began charging dealers a 3 percent processing fee on gasoline sales paid by credit cards. The company promised to offset the charge by cutting the wholesale cost of the fuel, according to the Associated Press.

Exxon did that for six months, reducing the wholesale price by 1.7 cents a gallon. But by March 1983, it stopped providing the offset without informing the dealers. The dealers didn't notice until 1991, when they filed a class action suit against Exxon. The trial resulted in a hung jury in 1999. The case was retried in Miami in 2001 and resulted in a unanimous verdict for the dealers.

On average, the station owners will get $50,000 each, not counting interest. The money will be distributed to each owner based on the number of gallons of gasoline bought by credit card at the owner's station during the 12-year period, the report said. The plaintiffs' attorneys say the total judgment, with interest, is $1.2 billion, or $100,000 per dealer.