November 10, 2020
White, Graham, Buckley & Carr L.L.C. partner Bryan White and co-counsel secured preliminary approval of an $8.5 million class action settlement fund that was the result of a class settlement agreement between a nationwide class of plaintiffs, O’Reilly Auto Parts and two associated companies for the manufacturing and sale of so-called 303 tractor hydraulic fluid (THF). White was joined by co-counsel Tom Bender and Dirk Hubbard of Horn Aylward & Bandy, and Clayton Jones of the Clayton Jones Law Firm.
The team initially filed class actions in several states against the defendants – O’Reilly, Omni Specialty Packaging LLC and Ozark Automotive Distributors Inc. – in 2019 and 2020 on behalf of thousands of consumers after investigations revealed that the defendants had misleadingly labeled the THF. The cases were filed on behalf of purchasers of “O’Reilly 303 Tractor Hydraulic Fluid.” The settlement agreement consolidated the various cases into a single case in the United States District Court for the Western District of Missouri, Allicks et al v. Omni Specialty Packaging, LLC et al, Case No. 4:19-cv-01038-DGK.
The plaintiffs alleged the fluid was improperly labeled, manufactured improperly and exposed purchasers’ equipment to increased wear and damage when the product was purchased and used in tractors and other hydraulic equipment. O’Reilly and the other defendants denied and continue to deny the allegations but worked with plaintiffs’ counsel to reach a settlement for the benefit of purchasers and to avoid further litigation.
On November 5, United States District Judge Greg Kays of the United States District Court for the Western District of Missouri granted preliminary approval to the class-action settlement. A final hearing is set for May 2021 in Kansas City, Missouri. The settlement fund provides relief to thousands of class members in 46 states.
This litigation follows similar 303 THF cases in which White and WGBC secured class-action settlements purchasers in Missouri and across the country, including securing $19 million settlement fund in a case against CITGO and Orscheln Farm and Home and a $1.7 million Missouri settlement fund in a case against Tractor Supply Co and Smitty’s Supply, Inc. WGBC’s ongoing 303 litigation against several manufacturers arose from THF that was mislabeled as “303” THF, an obsolete designation discontinued in the 1970s after the use of sperm whale oil – a main ingredient in the original 303 formulation – was outlawed. Despite the fact the 303 designation is obsolete and that there is no known 303 specification against which such fluid could be measured, several manufacturers produced and sold their tractor hydraulic fluid as “303” THF in stores across the country
Learn more about the firm’s work with 303 Tractor Hydraulic Fluid Class Actions.