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Texas Jury Awards $30M in Case Over Miscalibrated Gas Pumps

Posted Nov 10, 2010 12:34 PM CDT
By Martha Neil

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After an eight-week trial, a jury in Texas has awarded $30 million in a case over 985 miscalibrated gas pumps at SunMart stores.

Although the owner of the stores, Petroleum Wholesale, denied wrongdoing, Attorney General Greg Abbott, whose office brought the state deceptive trade practices suit, described the Harris County jury verdict as "a significant and well-deserved rebuke" concerning a "fraudulent pump calibration scheme," reports the Houston Chronicle.

Attorney Stuart Lapp, who serves as the company's general counsel, said the jury "disregarded tolerances, long recognized by law, and held us to a standard of perfection that neither we nor anyone in the retail fuel industry can attain."

After pondering 48 boxes of gas receipts concerning some 5,700,000 gallons purchased in over 727,000 fraudulent sales transactions, the jury awarded restitution of about $19 million, plus civil penalties of $8 million and nearly $3 million more in state fees.

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