Settlement Reached in SD Lawsuit Against Oil Companies

Posted on Jan 10, 2013

A lawsuit filed by the South Dakota Attorney General against two oil companies in Rapid City has ended with a settlement made between both parties after an extensive investigation.

Harms Oil and M.G. Oil in Rapid City were both found to be in violation of state rules when they sold 85-octane gasoline. This gasoline was mislabeled at the pump leading consumers to believe they were purchasing 87-octane gasoline.

The investigation by the Attorney General’s office revealed that Harms Oil and M.G. Oil both did not gain any unusually high profits by mislabeling their gasoline. This allowed them to come to a settlement instead of having to pay out the full amount in the South Dakota lawsuit.

Now, both parties will be responsible for paying $25,000 to the Department of Public Safety in South Dakota to recoup the cost of the octane tester. They will also have to pay $3,000 to cover the costs of retail business educational materials. Harms Oil is also being asked to pay $21,500 to go directly into the Attorney General State Fund.

A statement by the Attorney General's Office said that the issues between the gasoline wholesalers and the state of South Dakota have been finalized with this settlement. The vice president of Harms Oil, Jeff Harms, also released a statement saying that the company was satisfied with the result of the settlement.

Over the next two years, the oil companies must provide statements each quarter that show compliance with state rules.

Business lawsuits in South Dakota can be costly, but with the help of an experienced lawyer, settlements can be reached that will benefit both parties, serve the public interest, and lower the overall cost to the companies being served.