Exxon, Chevron, Conoco Phillips, BP and Shell, all defendants in a proposed Florida class action lawsuit, were dealt a huge blow yesterday when a Federal Court in the Southern District of Florida issued an order denying their joint motion to dismiss a lawsuit filed by three Florida residents, Erick Kelesceny, John Egizi and Todd Jessup.
The Plaintiffs allege that the world's largest oil companies failed to warn them, as well as all Florida boat owners, that the gasoline they purchase at the pump, which is blended with ethanol, may destroy fiberglass tanks and tends to absorb water and phase separate, which could cause damage to all boats, regardless of whether they have a fiberglass tank.
The oil companies argued that the proposed class action lawsuit is preempted by federal and Florida law. By denying the motion to dismiss, the Court has allowed the Plaintiffs to proceed with their lawsuit.
If successful, the oil companies will be forced to place a warning label on all pumps at all gas stations in Florida, notifying the boating public that usage of gasoline blended with ethanol may be hazardous to their boats.
Further, the Plaintiffs seek compensation for all Florida boat owners who have been damaged as a result of the oil companies' failure to warn of the destructive tendencies of fuel blended with ethanol when used in boats. Boat owners have been forced to spend thousands to tens of thousands of dollars to repair their boats.