Propane Tank Users Denied of Class Certification Over AmeriGas and Blue Rhino MDL
A group of propane tank users alleging that AmeriGas and Blue Rhino pushed retailers to offer underfilled tanks at full price were unable to obtain Class certification for their claims of overpaying for gas in the antitrust MDL.
Judge Ruling In The Pre-Filled Propane Tank Antitrust Litigation
The judge dealing over the multidistrict litigation (MDL) determined that the indirect purchasers — those who purchased propane tanks for use in home appliances such as barbecue grills or outdoor heaters — failed to establish predominating, common legal issues.
Further, the judge found that the indirect purchasers had failed to demonstrate that all end customers across the numerous proposed Classes had been overcharged.
The plaintiffs, along with their expert in the AmeriGas and Blue Rhino Propane Antitrust MDL, failed to bear their burden of establishing that common proof can be used to demonstrate class-wide impact and damages, the judge stated.
Not only had the plaintiffs’ expert failed to establish that end customers suffered a common injury, but the judge decided that wholesale prices had been frequently negotiated, individually fixed, and widely dispersed between gas companies and retail customers.
Furthermore, the expert analysis determined whether the retail price per gallon changed in relation to the wholesale price per gallon for propane exchange tanks bought and sold by three retailers, the judge stated ruling the AmeriGas and Blue Rhino Propane Antitrust MDL.
Case Background & Similarity
In addition to AmeriGas and Blue Rhino, the indirect purchasers also filed a complaint against the businesses that sold them the propane tanks in 2008, including Lowes and Walmart.
A class of direct purchasers — like auto repair shops or home improvement businesses — previously reached a settlement agreement with AmeriGas and Blue Rhino for $12.6 million in 2019.
AmeriGas has paid $6.5 million to settle a class action lawsuit claiming that the company conspired with Blue Rhino to reduce the amount of propane in pre-filled tanks from 17 to 15 pounds without lowering the price.
AmeriGas and Columbia Propane Corporation settled a $21 million class action lawsuit with consumers in 2011 over allegations that the pair failed to install and inspect customers’ underground propane system lines properly.
Editor’s Note on AmeriGas and Blue Rhino Propane Antitrust MDL:
This article is written to inform you of the judge’s ruling over an indirect purchaser class certification. You might also be interested in the Mazda Faulty Fuel Pumps Lawsuit.
Case Name & No.: In re: Pre-Filled Propane Tank Antitrust Litigation, Case No. 4:14-md-02567
Jurisdiction: U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri
Allegations: Indirect purchasers alleged that the defendants pushed retailers to offer underfilled tanks at full price
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