Final Approval Hearing Set in Class Action Lawsuit Against California Gas Companies Union Oil Company of California and Unocal Corporation
LOS ANGELES, Oct. 17 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The United States District Court for the Central District of California will hold a fairness hearing on November 24, 2008 to consider whether to approve a Proposed Settlement in a class action lawsuit involving Union Oil Company of California and Unocal Corporation (Unocal). The class action is entitled In Re Reformulated Gasoline (RFG) Antitrust & Patent Litigation, MDL Case No. 05-1671 CAS (VBKx) and involves claims that Unocal manipulated the California gasoline market which resulted in higher gas prices.
The lawsuit alleges that Unocal engaged in anticompetitive behavior that drove up the prices for CARB-compliant summertime reformulated gasoline in California. Plaintiffs claim that Unocal successfully convinced the California Air Resources Board (“CARB”) to adopt its proprietary formula for summertime reformulated gasoline. However, Plaintiffs claim Unocal did not tell CARB that it intended to keep its gasoline formulation proprietary and charge competing oil companies royalties for using its gasoline formula. Plaintiffs claim this was contrary to CARB’s policies.
Plaintiffs also claim that all CARB-compliant summertime reformulated gasoline prices increased as a result of Unocal’s conduct. Unocal denies that it did anything wrong or that prices increased as a result of its actions. The parties agreed to the Proposed Settlement to resolve the case.
The Class consists of all consumers who purchased CARB-compliant summertime reformulated gasoline in the State of California at any time during the period from January 1995 to and including August 11, 2005.
Class Members who do not wish to be included in the Settlement Class or bound by the terms of the Settlement must exclude themselves in writing on or before November 7, 2008. Complete information on how Class Members can opt-out of the Proposed Settlement is available at http://www.unocalsettlement.com/.
As part of the Proposed Settlement, Unocal deposited $48 million into a Settlement Fund. There will be no money paid to consumers because the cost of sending small reimbursements to millions of Class Members is prohibitive. Therefore, the money will be distributed to qualified non-profit organizations dedicated to improving air quality in California. It is intended that the money will be distributed to programs that will focus on replacing high emissions vehicles and creating programs to improve air quality or fuel efficiency.
For more information regarding the Class Action visit http://www.unocalsettlement.com/ or call 1-888-356-0253.
Reformulated Gasoline Anti-Trust and Patent Litigation Administrator
CONTACT: Danielle West of Reformulated Gasoline Anti-Trust and PatentLitigation Administrator, +1-202-379-1164
Web Site: http://www.unocalsettlement.com/