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Another Class-Action Lawsuit Filed Against Shell Over Tainted Gas

nbc6.net: Another Class-Action Lawsuit Filed Against Shell Over Tainted Gas

Posted 9 June 2004

MIAMI, Fla. — Another day, another lawsuit for Shell Oil. Their gasoline was tainted with elevated sulfur levels and has damaged thousands of cars. The bad gas is gone — but blame is still going around. An attorney is seeking up to $100 million dollars, saying Shell isn’t doing enough to reimburse the real costs of bad gas.

It’s been three weeks since Myriam Valle filled up her Lincoln Town Car at a Miami Shell station. In fact, she still has the receipt. Ever since, her gas gauge has read “full.”

“I started to panic,” said Valle. “My husband is a very sick person. He is a handicapped person who has gone through a stroke. I cannot afford to be without gasoline on the street. What is going to happen to me if I run out of gasoline in the middle of the street with a person that can’t walk?”

At least 9000 people say Shell’s tainted gasoline damaged their fuel gauges. Shell will reimburse the cost of replacing those gauges — which can run up to $1000. But attorney John Ruiz has filed a class-action lawsuit, saying the real costs run a lot more than that.

For example, as of now, Shell is not reimbursing for other possible damage to cars. “Nor are they reimbursing anyone for the actual fuel that’s left in the gas tank. They’re not reimbursing anyone for rental car charges. They’re not reimbursing anyone for any other associated costs such as towing charges, loss of use charges,” said Ruiz.

“I will definitely need to have a rental car to move because of the health of my husband,” said Valle.

Valle plans to get her car fixed this week — but she wants Shell to pay.

“I know it’s not their fault,” said Valle. “But it’s not mine either.”

Ruiz estimates one million people might be eligible for compensation. A spokesperson for Shell said the company had not seen the lawsuit, so it declined comment. Last week, another attorney filed a similar class-action lawsuit in federal court.

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