Ky. judge tosses challenge to price-gouging statute

By John O'Brien | Oct 7, 2009


FRANKFORT, Ky. (Legal Newsline) - A Kentucky judge has upheld the constitutionality of the state's price-gouging law, allowing state Attorney General Jack Conway to continue with a lawsuit filed by his predecessor against Marathon Oil and Speedway SuperAmerica.

Former state Attorney General Greg Stumbo filed the lawsuit in 2007, alleging the two companies unlawfully raised gasoline prices during a declared state of emergency following 2005 hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

Marathon replied by challenging the price-gouging statute, claiming that the law is too vague in that it does not specify a time period the state of emergency runs and that it violates certain clauses of the U.S. Constitution.

"This is an important victory for Kentucky consumers, and it serves as a warning to those who seek excessive profits during times of disaster," Conway said.

"My office will continue to enforce this law and protect consumers from those who prey on their vulnerability."

Franklin Circuit Court Judge Thomas Wingate sided with Conway on Monday.

The suit seeks $86 million from Marathon and $3 million from Speedway.

From Legal Newsline: Reach John O'Brien by e-mail at jobrienwv@gmail.com.

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