Nothing Resolved In Marathon Price Gouging Lawsuit

Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway and attorneys for Marathon Oil faced off in Franklin Circuit Court this morning.  Conway accuses Marathon of gasoline price gouging during a state of emergency.

Attorney Sheryl Snyder, who represents Marathon, says the case appears to have more to do with price control than price gouging.  “They’re not even alleging that their claim for relief has anything to do with the flooding, or anything to do with the emergency.  They’ve predicated their claim totally on the argument that we’re following the spot market.”

Nothing was resolved at a hearing on Kentucky’s price gouging allegation against Marathon Oil.  Judicial and expert witness conflicts required the matter to be moved to Thursday.  Attorney Sheryl Snyder, who represents Marathon, says there’s no need for a restraining order on gas prices anyway.

“There is no emergency here.  Their expert witness’ affidavit stops at Wednesday.” Snyder says “The prices already started falling on Thursday and today the prices are below the prices they want us to impose.  So, if you granted their order, you would actually be increasing our prices.”

The state says Marathon has illegally been jacking up gas prices during a state of emergency tied to recent flooding.  The company denies it.  Four years ago, the state sued Marathon for allegedly doing the same thing in the wake of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.  That case is still being argued.

But Snyder says even though Conway has no primary opposition for re-election, this case is all about politics.

“It’s common knowledge that one without opposition gets on the news on election day,” Snyder says “particularly if you can create political theatre, which Jack has done.”

But Attrorney General Conway responded saying, “If doing my job as attorney general and standing up for the consumers of Kentucky when they may be paying too much at the pump is political, call me that every day of the week, and twice on Sunday.”

By Tony McVeigh

Veteran broadcast journalist Tony McVeigh has been covering Kentucky politics since 1986, reporting for Clear Channel Communications before joining Kentucky Public Radio in 2004. His stories are aired by seven KPR affiliates, whose signals blanket the Commonwealth and parts of surrounding states. McVeigh began his broadcasting career at WRFC in Athens, Georgia, while earning a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from the University of Georgia. He has extensive anchor/reporter experience, including stints with South Carolina Network and Georgia Radio News Service in Atlanta. In 2007 and 2008, McVeigh was named Best Radio Reporter in the Kentucky Associated Press Awards. He also picked up consecutive AP Awards for Best Political Coverage. McVeigh won four Kentucky AP Awards in 2009, six in 2010 - including Best Political Coverage and Best Hard News Feature - and three in 2011. His coverage of the 2007 Kentucky governor's race topped the Political Reporting category of the Society of Professional Journalists Green Eyeshade Awards of 2008. In 2009, McVeigh placed second in Courts and Law Reporting in the Atlanta-based competition for journalists in 11 Southern states. McVeigh is also the proud recipient of an Individual Liberty Award from the Kentucky Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. The Brunswick, Georgia, native is a die-hard UGA football fan who enjoys photography, astronomy, live music, hiking Kentucky's Red River Gorge and exploring the state's beautiful back roads. McVeigh and his big, fat, black cat Simon, reside in Frankfort, KY.