Update: Scharfstein v. BP West Coast Products (Oregon ARCO gas debit card fees)

There have been two important developments in our win over BP. The case involves illegal debit card charges for gas purchases at Oregon ARCO stations. Details on the history are here with a few additional posts here.

A bit of a summary first. Our claim process was a smashing success. Over 1.7 million people, roughly 83 percent of the class, made claims. That’s an awesome result in any class action.

So two things happened this month. First, the Oregon Legislature passed and Gov. Kate Brown signed HB 2700, a bill that changes how unclaimed money is handled in class actions. BP opposed the bill. Here is an awesome insider’s view of some of the many gyrations and personalities that BP hired to kill the bill. (Love the comments, especially!)

Anyway, the bill appears to apply to this case. BP disputes that, of course. So what does it mean? Well, it means that Judge LaBarre must sort out whether it applies and–if it does–how to go forward to finish what needs to be done before entry of judgment. As a lawyer who practices in these areas, I am fairly certain that the bill applies to our case. So that’s the easy part. Then comes the “Now what?” portion, and my guess is that that will slow entry of judgment.

The good news is that BP must pay 100 percent of the value of the verdict. They don’t get to keep the money. Better yet, the money goes to legal aid and other worthy related purposes to benefit consumers. Best of all, we are talking about roughly $60 million dollars.

The only downside is that it slows down our case somewhat, and it gives BP a big issue to argue on appeal. We don’t really get to choose here, so we’ll take the bitter with the sweet and move on toward wrapping everything up in the trial court. Not sure when that will be by the way. But after we get it wrapped up, BP has indicated that it will appeal. As we’ve said many times over, the appeal could take years. And of course, there is always a risk that BP will overturn the verdict on appeal.

But let’s be very clear about something: They want more fight? We got more fight. David is not intimidated by Goliath.

I mentioned two things happened. The second happened earlier this week. Judge LaBarre ruled on the fee petition. As we explained in the class notice, we were going to ask the court for no more than 20 percent, or $40 per class member.  Judge LaBarre granted part but not all of our requested fees.

Each class member’s share of fees is $35.15 or 17.57 percent. (If you want a comparison to an individual case, we usually charge individual consumers 33-40 percent, depending on whether the case settles before trial.) So when and if final payday comes around, each class member should receive $164.85, plus interest, if the case goes all way to the bitter end.

So that’s the news from the trenches. Thanks for your continuing patience. Keep in mind that we do updates on our Facebook page, so if you’re a user, you can find news there about this case and other pending major cases against KBR and Career Education Corp. If you’re a Twitter user, I am @DavidSug, though that’s not really a work account. Note that I do not offer legal advice in response to comments on our blog or on Facebook or Twitter. It’s not that I’m unwilling to answer questions. It’s more that we are required ot protect your confidentiality. And we take that seriously. So feel free to call (503.228.6474) or email me davidATdavidsugerman.com if you have questions.

-David

39 thoughts on “Update: Scharfstein v. BP West Coast Products (Oregon ARCO gas debit card fees)

  1. Checks will not go out until after all of BP’s appeals are exhausted. That is expected to be years from now. Thanks for your patience.

    -David

  2. So we may never see the checks and I could be 45 and have 5 kids and sometime get a random 160$ check from this when this whole thing is already 3 years old? Why should we care if we won’t see the money for years to come?

  3. Chelsie-It is frustrating, isn’t it? We are fighting one of the largest corporate giants in the world. They can drag this out for a very long time. The good news is that once a judgment is entered later this year, it will start to earn interest at 9 percent. Yes, BP can continue to fight and delay the day of reckoning. But as long as it takes, that day will come.

    The alternative is to surrender and let them get away with it. That is straight up unacceptable. We will fight on. Keep the faith.
    -David

  4. That’s funny, I got a settlement check two months ago for $21.33. I guess it just depends on which attorney represented you in the class action.

  5. Carl-Thanks, but I think you have the wrong case. No checks have been mailed, and in any event, class members in this case will receive approximately $165 per person, plus interest, once the checks go out. But it will be years. I am lead counsel in the BP debit card class action. All of the attorneys representing class members in this case work with me. You may have received a settlement from a different case. Assuming you’re a class member in our case, you’ll get another check, assuming we win on appeal. Appeals take years, so the checks are a long way off. Feel free to contact me directly if you have additional questions.

    -David

  6. The appeal has not been filed. We’re still in the trial court. The law changed recently, and we’re required to give notice to part of the class about the change in the law and allow that part to consider whether they want to make claims. Judgment should be entered sometime this fall, and then BP will appeal. There won’t be anything to see on the appeal until BP files its opening brief. That will be many months from now.
    -David

  7. I just want to ask this one question. So if I received a postcard way back when regarding this, I need not do anything right? Just sit and wait?

  8. Hi Sandra-Yes. You don’t need to do anything except wait. But it might be a long wait, as BP could drag out the appeal for years. (The good news is that they will need to pay interest on the judgment once it’s entered.)
    -David

  9. How will the checks come? Will they be automatically put in my checking account, or will I see a live check? I have had to use 3 different atm cards since all this happened, because the strip on back of the card got scratched twice and wouldn’t read, then another time someone stole the card, so I had to put a stop on that card and have a new one reissued.

  10. Payment is years away because BP is appealing, and appeals take many years. We expect to issue checks once the case is completed.
    -David

  11. I think I filed for this, but I am not sure with whom as it has been quite a while. Is there any way I can find out if I did file and if so, with which attorney?

  12. Hi David-
    I am lead counsel for the class, so I’m the right attorney. If you got a letter late last year, your claim is all set, and you don’t need to file. If you can call our office at 503.228.6474, we can get some information that will allow us to check with the administrator to make sure you are all squared away. -David

  13. So that is great that they pay 9 percent interest. It is not going to be compounded and by time it is disbursed to the consumers your fees will eat up that 9 percent. So what’s the difference? Most of it will be going for attorney fees.

  14. Incorrect. After judgment is entered, the 9 percent interest applies equally to class damages and fees.
    -David

  15. I am a member of this class action and am just curious what is happening at this point. There have been no updates to my knowledge, and it has been six months since the appeals deadline. Where are we in the process now?

  16. Hi Zondra-
    We are still in the trial court. Judgment should be entered this month or next. BP is then going to appeal. We expect that appeal to take several years. If you use Facebook, you can get more information from our law firm page, David F. Sugerman Attorney, PC. I will also post an update on our blog once judgment is entered.
    Thanks-David

  17. Okay, thanks for that info. I guess I will just try to forget about it, then, and be pleasantly surprised by a check in the mail years from now.

  18. I’m part of this settlement but I’ve changed my name ( got married ) and I’ve moved, how do I keep my info updated to receive my check?

  19. Any updates on the appeals? Pretty disappointing that the settlement administrator does not update the settlement website with current information for class members.

  20. The appeal goes slowly–it always does. The good news is that BP must pay interest if we win. The judgment earns interest of roughly $100,000 per day, during the appeal. You can get updates by finding and liking our law firm Facebook page, David F Sugerman, Attorney, PC. We also post ocassionally on this site. Thanks for your patience. Keep the faith. -David

  21. Jessica-I missed this comment apparently. Please call our office at 503.228.6474 so that we can update the records. The case is on appeal. We expect appeal will take several years more.

  22. Hi Ambro-Thanks for your comment. The case is on appeal, and will be for a long time. If your address changes, please call our office at 503.228.6474 so that we can see that your information gets updated.

  23. It is slow, isn’t it? The good news for consumers is that BP must pay interest on the judgment. While it does not mean a lot of additional money to each individual, it is a lot of money because there are 2 million consumers in the class. The interest on the judgment adds about $100,000 per day to the total judgment. So unless BP wins on the appeal, this delay will be very expensive.

    Thanks for your patience. -David

  24. Apologies for not responding sooner–this slipped by my view. We’re making good progress. Also, the class gets interest on the judgment. While it is divided among all class members, interest is accruing at $100,000 day. Which is a lot of doughnuts.

  25. I received a notice years ago and have moved. I still live in same city and have put in change of address. So will the check be forwarded to my new address?

  26. It should find you. But if you want to be doubly sure, call our office at 503.228.6474 and give us the updated address. We’ll forward it to the administrator for their files.

  27. Hi Dave, is there any up to date info? I had unclaimed property, thought it was this because I moved but it something else.

  28. The case is still going on. The Court of Appeals heard oral argument in August. It usually takes 12-24 months for that court to issue a decision. Either party can ask the Oregon Supreme Court to review the case after that, which adds additional time. It could easily take us to 2020 to see a result.

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