Editor's note: This story has been updated.
One Indiana firm has filed a class-action lawsuit against BP in the wake of the company's gasoline recall in northwest Indiana. Two other law firms are pursuing a possible class-action suit.
Indianapolis firm Price Waicukauski and Riley LLC announced Friday afternoon it filed a proposed class action in the Hammond Division in the Northern District of Indiana. The suit seeks to represent all Indiana residents who purchaed the defective fuel. The plaintiff purchased defective BP gas Aug. 19. The following day, the plaintiff's car would not start, and a mechanic discovered the defecutive fuel had "significantly damaged the engine," according to a release from the firm.
Cohen & Malad LLP in Indianapolis and Theodoros & Rooth P.C. in Merrillville jointly have begun investigating the potential size and claims of a lawsuit after BP recalled gasoline blended at its facilities in Whiting.
The bad gas was sold at BP locations and other stations including Luke Oil and Thornton’s. It also was sold in locations from Milwaukee, Wis., to southwest Michigan, according to news reports.
BP said 2.1 million gallons of fuel blended between Aug. 13 and 17 contained a “higher than normal level of polymeric residue,” according to a statement from Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller, whose office has started an investigation. In a statement Thursday, BP blamed the problem on an alkylation unit at the Whiting refinery and said it had been corrected.
“We have been told that as many as 100,000 people may have purchased the gasoline,” Cohen & Malad managing partner Irwin Levin said Friday. “We know that already at least 10,000 people complained to BP, so the numbers of the class are certainly going to be in the five figures.”
“People deserve justice and assurance that a company like BP will be held accountable for its actions,” Barry Rooth of Theodoros & Rooth said in a statement. “Thousands of people were impacted by this contaminated gas and have spent hundreds of dollars in car repairs. We are seeking full compensation for their damages.”
BP acted after hundreds of motorists complained about hard starting and unusual engine noise and shaking. Levin said the firm has consulted with experts about possible resulting engine damage.
BP has asked customers who think they might have purchased tainted gas to call its hotline, 800-333-3991, or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Zoeller said consumers may file a complaint with the attorney general’s office online at www.indianaconsumer.com or by calling 800-382-5516.
For more information about PWR's suit, contact the firm at 317-633-8787. Those interested in learning more about the planned class action should call Cohen & Malad at 317-636-6481 or Theodoros & Rooth at 219-769-6393.