A notification program has begun, as ordered by the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana, to alert people who used or bought Motiva gasoline from certain gasoline stations in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida from May 11, 2004 to June 2, 2004, or through certain fleet storage facilities, about a
proposed settlement of the litigation against Shell Oil Company and Motiva Enterprises LLC, and others (the “Defendants”).
Lawsuits began in May of 2004, after it was reportedly discovered that certain batches of Motiva gasoline were sold with some amounts of elemental sulfur and/or hydrogen sulfide.
Although the total sulfur content was below the applicable governmental regulations, these particular sulfur compounds can reportedly damage fuel sensors in some makes and models of cars and vehicles causing gas gauges, that measure the fuel level in the vehicle’s gas tank, to break or malfunction.
Problems with gas gauges usually occurred within a few days after the gas was used or not at all. The gasoline was supplied to a number of oil companies who, after adding their own additives, sold the gasoline at their retail outlets. The vast majority of the gasoline was sold at some Shell and Texaco gas stations.
The Defendants deny that they did anything wrong, and the settlement is not an admission of wrongdoing or an indication that any law was violated.
The settlement will make payments to people who submit valid claims for reasonable and necessary vehicle repairs, actual lost wages, incidental expenses, and other damages.
Those included in the settlement may send in a claim form to ask for a payment, or they can exercise other legal rights such as asking to be excluded from, or objecting to, the settlement. The deadline for exclusions and objections is June 30, 2006. The deadline to submit claims is Sept. 12, 2006.
Notices informing people about their legal rights will be mailed, and are scheduled to appear in newspapers and other publications in states where the gas was sold, and also in other states where Hurricane Katrina and Rita evacuees are now located, leading up to a hearing on Sept. 6, 2006, when the Court will consider whether to approve the settlement.
The Court has appointed Ben Barnow, Barnow and Associates P.C., of Chicago, and Don Barrett, Barrett Law Office P.A., of Lexington,
Mississippi, to represent the people included in the class action, as the co-lead settlement Class Counsel.
A toll-free number, 1-866-314-5812, has been established in the case
(called In Re High Sulfur Content Gasoline Products Liability Litigation, MDL 1632), along with a Web site, http://www.gasclaims.com, where notices, claim forms, the settlement agreement, and lists of qualifying gasoline stations and
storage facilities may be obtained.
Those affected may also write to Gas Settlement, P.O. Box 2007, Chanhassen, Minn., 55317-2007.
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