Judge Approves Costco 'Hot Fuel' Settlement

Class-action claims against motor fuel retailers in 26 states consolidated

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- A federal judge in Kansas City, Mo., has approved a settlement with Costco Wholesale Corp. in the "hot fuel" litigation, The Kansas City Business Journal has reported.

Costco has agreed to convert gasoline dispensers in some states during the next five years to automatically compensate for expansion due to changing temperatures, the newspaper said.

U.S. District Judge Kathryn Vratil ruled Tuesday that the settlement was fair.

Costco will not pay a monetary settlement, but plaintiffs' lawyers have asked for $10 million in attorney fees. Class representatives would get $2,000 apiece.

Vratil said she will not consider fees until the other hot fuel cases have been resolved.

She noted that since the Costco settlement, other companies have reached settlement agreements as well, including BP Products North America Inc., ConocoPhillips Co., Shell Oil Products US, Casey's General Stores Inc., Valero Marketing & Supply Co., Sam's Club and Wal-Mart Stores Inc.

"Settlement discussions with other defendants are ongoing and appear promising," Vratil wrote.

In all, class-action claims against motor fuel retailers in 26 states have been consolidated in Kansas, said the report.

(Click here for previous CSP Daily News coverage of the "hot fuel" issue.)