Hot Fuel Lawsuit Proceeds

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Hot Fuel Lawsuit Proceeds

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- A potential class-action lawsuit that claims U.S. oil companies knowingly overcharge customers when fuel temperatures rise passed a hurdle last week, when U.S. District Judge Kathryn Vratil rejected a motion from the named oil companies to dismiss the lawsuit, The Associated Press reported.

In her rejection, Vratil stated the oil companies had not proven the plaintiffs wouldn't prevail in court, the report stated. As a result, both sides will begin collecting more information on the way to trial, the AP reported.

"The oil industry represented to Judge Vratil that their motion to dismiss was a silver bullet" to the plaintiff's claims, George Zelcs, an attorney for the plaintiffs, told the AP. "Obviously, their aim was not true."

Meanwhile, Defense Attorney Martin Loring noted Vratil was required to apply a low standard to the plaintiff's claims, according to the AP.

"We believe that when we have the opportunity to present our side of the case, the case will be dismissed," he told the AP. "Every state requires us to sell gas the way we sell it and there's nothing wrong or deceptive about that."

In the request to dismiss the suit, oil companies and gas retailers argued they can't be sued for following the law, and stated state regulations and industry standards define a gallon of gasoline by volume, not in terms of its energy output, the AP reported. As long as customers receive 231 cubic inches of fuel, they are getting what they paid for, the report stated.

Last year, the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation decided to centralize dozens of lawsuits filed by consumers in 26 states to the U.S. District Court in Kansas City, Kan., according to the report.