January 23, 2020

State Supreme Court clears way for gas price-fixing suit

By Morgan True

For Vermont Digger

The Vermont Supreme Court has rejected an appeal from four northwestern Vermont gas wholesalers seeking to toss out a class-action suit that accuses them of price fixing.

The lawsuit asserts that R.L. Vallee Inc., S.B. Collins Inc., Wesco Inc. and Champlain Oil Co. conspired to use their collective market power to realize more than $100 million in illegal profits by keeping gas prices artificially high in Chittenden, Franklin and Grand Isle counties.

Attorneys for the wholesalers had previously sought to have the case dismissed by Washington County Superior Court Judge Helen Toor. Toor denied those requests, leading to the appeal before the Vermont Supreme Court.

The suit is being brought on behalf of six northwestern Vermont residents. However, attorneys with the West Virginia law firm Bailey Glaser LLP, which specializes in class-action suits, will ask the court to affirm they represent a broader class of northwestern Vermonters affected by higher gas prices.

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