JACKSON, Miss. - Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood said he would sue those gas companies that wouldn't settle with him, and on Thursday he made good on that promise.
Hood announced that he has filed lawsuits against Wilburn Oil and Fair Oil, alleging the two companies violated the state's Consumer Protection Act and the Price Gouging statute.
Two weeks ago, Hood settled with five of the seven companies that he investigated for violations following 2005's Hurricane Katrina. He vowed that if the remaining two did not follow suit, they'd be facing litigation.
"Five petroleum distributors fully cooperated, gave us their documents, paid a penalty to be used in part to develop a brochure explaining oil pricing and to engage the Economics Department at Mississippi State to conduct a market study to track today's oil prices to help us detect fuel price-fixing," said Hood, no stranger to Katrina-related litigation.
"It is unfortunate that Wilburn Oil and Fair Oil have refused to cooperate, even though they were caught red-handed increasing their profits by over 25 percent during a time when people were fleeing from a hurricane. I hope that the courts will severely punish these despicable acts accordingly."
The companies face penalties of up to $10,000 per sale. Hood said he will seek restitution and attorneys fees.
The suits were filed Friday in Lee County Chancery Court (against Wilburn) and Winston County Chancery Court (against Fair Oil).
Kentucky Attorney General Gregory Stumbo recently filed the first state-backed lawsuit against a major oil refinery, alleging Marathon Oil violated the state's price-gouging laws in the wake of Katrina.