QuikTrip Price-War Suit Set for Jury Trial
Resolution could be more than a year away
ST. LOUIS -- It could be a full year before a gasoline price-war lawsuit against QuikTrip is settled by a jury trial in Missouri, according to court documents filed this past week and accessed by CSP Daily News.
Following a court conference between representatives of defendant QuikTrip and plaintiff the Association of Independent Gas Station Owners (AIGO), U.S. District Judge Jean C. Hamilton signed a "case management order" designed to reduce courtroom delays and setting a 12-month schedule for proceedings to progress in the interim.
According to the document:
- All motions to include additional parties or amendments to pleadings must be completed by Sunday, July 15, 2012.
- All parties must make their disclosures on the case no later than Wednesday, Aug. 1, 2012.
- Plaintiff must disclose all expert witnesses and provide reports no later than Thursday, Nov. 1, 2012.
- Plaintiff must complete all expert-witness depositions no later than Saturday, Dec. 1, 2012.
- Defendant must disclose all expert witnesses and provide reports no later than Thursday, Jan. 10, 2013.
- Defendant must complete all expert-witness depositions no later than Sunday, Feb. 10, 2013.
- Any motions to dismiss or for summary judgment must be filed no later than Monday, March 11, 2013.
- Any replies to the above motions must be filed no later than Saturday, April 20, 2013.
- This action is set for a jury trial on Monday, July 1, 2013.
In the meantime, however, the document also sets aside Jan. 4 through March 4, 2013, to refer the case to "alternative dispute resolution" for a possible settlement before going to trial.
In the lawsuit filed in November, AIGO filed the complaint with the Eastern Division Court of Missouri claiming "QuikTrip's below-cost predatory pricing" has forced the plaintiffs "to set prices for gasoline below their costs in order to sustain their presence in the marketplace."
"QuikTrip has engaged in this predatory price war of selling gasoline below its costs in order to dominate the marketplace in a manner that will allow it to recoup any losses it incurred as a result of its selling gasoline below its cost," stated the complaint.
Tulsa, Okla.-based QuikTrip denies selling gasoline below its cost and responded to the claims by stating that AIGO fails to meet legal definitions to warrant the lawsuit in several instances and requested the lawsuit be dismissed. That request was not granted, and the two sides were asked to meet to develop the timeline for the case to go to trial. A previous document suggesting a nonjury trial stated the case could take five days to try; there is no estimated timeframe for the jury trial.
AIGO, which is represented by West Moreland Service Inc. dba Go West Mart, George Minkevich and Edward Montgomery, requested in the original complaint that the court:
- Enjoin QT's pricing practices.
- Award the plaintiffs "in excess of $50 million," as well as court and attorney fees.
- Impose penalties on QT.
- Provide for additional relief as deemed appropriate.