June 24, 2020
White, Graham, Buckley & Carr LLC partners Bryan White, Bill Carr and Gene Graham secured a $1.7 million settlement with Tractor Supply Co. in a class-action lawsuit arising from the defendants’ manufacturing and sale of so-called 303 tractor hydraulic fluid. The team was assisted by co-counsel Tom Bender and Dirk Hubbard of Horn Aylward & Bandy as well as attorney Clayton Jones.
The case, which was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri, also involved Smitty’s Supply Inc., the maker of the Super S SuperTrac 303 Tractor Hydraulic Fluid. The suit was filed on behalf of Missouri consumers after investigations revealed that the defendants had misleadingly labeled the tractor hydraulic fluid (THF), which then exposed purchasers’ equipment to increased wear and damage when the product was purchased and used in tractors and other hydraulic equipment.
The plaintiffs alleged the tractor hydraulic fluid was mislabeled as to the benefits the fluid provided and 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 Despite the fact the 303 designation is obsolete and that there is no known 303 specification against which the defendants’ fluid could be measured, the defendants sold tractor hydraulic fluid as “303 THF” in retail stores throughout Missouri, including at Tractor Supply Stores.
On March 27, 2020, U.S. District Judge Nanette K. Laughrey gave final approval to the class-action settlement. The case follows a similar 303 THF case in which White, Carr and Graham secured a nearly $19 million settlement against Citgo.