Bill would have let W.Va. AG probe fuel price-gouging

John O'Brien Mar. 15, 2010, 4:19pm


CHARLESTON, W.Va. (Legal Newsline) - A bill introduced this year would have allowed West Virginia Attorney General Darrell McGraw to charge businesses with price-gouging on fuel.

Senate Bill 102 was introduced in January and but was still sitting in the Senate Judiciary Committee when the legislative session ended Saturday. Sen. Randy White, a Democrat, was the bill's sponsor.

The bill gave the Attorney General's Office the authority to "investigate and charge" any person, contractor, business or other entity that is selling oil, fasoline or other motor fuels for a price 10 percent above the prevailing market price.

"The Office of the Attorney General may petition any circuit court of this state for the issuance of a temporary restraining order or injunction or for any other remedy, as may be appropriate, to compel a person, contractor, business or other entity to comply with this subsection," the bill says.

Other state attorneys general have the authority to file price-gouging suits. Several states, like Texas and Virginia, initiated legal actions after 2008's Hurricane Ike.

Also, the state of Kentucky is suing Marathon Oil for its prices following 2005 hurricanes Katrina and Rita. The lawsuit seeks $89 million.

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