Class-action lawsuit threatened in BP gas recall

2012-08-23T21:00:00Z 2012-08-29T19:20:04Z Class-action lawsuit threatened in BP gas recallBy Bowdeya Tweh bowdeya.tweh@nwi.com, (219) 933-3316 nwitimes.com

Law firms in Indianapolis and Merrillville plan on working together to file a lawsuit against BP on behalf of people whose vehicles sustained damage prior to BP's recall of gasoline sent to at least three states.

The announcement comes as BP said it has identified the source of the fuel problems and corrected the issues and will continue its efforts to "make good" to people affected.

In a news release issued Thursday, Cohen & Malad LLP and Theodoros & Rooth PC said they have been speaking with people about the matter and want them to receive full compensation for their damages. The venue of the lawsuit or number of people who have reached the firms was not available Thursday night.

"People deserve justice and assurance that a company like BP will be held accountable for its actions," said Barry Rooth, of Theodoros & Rooth, in the statement.

BP spokesman Scott Dean declined to comment on the matter when reached about the potential lawsuit Thursday.

Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller said Wednesday his office has opened an investigation to oversee BP's claims process "to ensure consumers' rights are protected."

BP said about 220 stations in Northwest Indiana, Illinois and Wisconsin received grades of gasoline containing a higher than normal amount of polymeric residue, which the company said could cause vehicle problems. After the company said the off-specification gasoline was sent from fuel storage terminals in Whiting and Milwaukee to stations, customers reported a range of issues such as hard starting and stalling and have had to replace vehicle components.

The company said at least 7,000 people have reached the company following the recall.

BP said it traced the source of the fuel problems to the alkylation unit at its Whiting Refinery, according to a news release. The company said the refinery has made operational changes to fix the problem and return fuels produced there back within normal specifications. Regular gasoline now being supplied to stations in Northwest Indiana, Illinois and Wisconsin is back within normal specifications, BP said. Testing of the distribution system and finished products will continue, the company said.

As a result of the gasoline shipments sent to Milwaukee not meeting specifications, BP temporarily has halted the distribution and sale of premium and mid-grade gasoline in the Chicago area, including Northwest Indiana, pending further testing.

Last week, at least 2.1 million gallons left BP's Whiting storage terminal containing the off-specification product. The company sells 50 million gallons of gasoline in the U.S. each day.

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