WGBC’s White helps obtain class certification in ongoing high-profile tractor hydraulic fluid litigation

White Graham Buckley & Carr partner Bryan White recently helped obtain a class certification order in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri for a group of consumers in multidistrict litigation (MDL) involving the manufacture, sale and marketing of allegedly inadequate and defective tractor hydraulic fluid labeled with a “303” designation. The defendants sold the 303 tractor hydraulic fluid products nationwide under 4 different labels.

The plaintiffs have asserted various claims across more than forty states, and recently moved for class certification of claims in eight “focus” -states: Arkansas, California, Kansas, Kentucky, Minnesota, Missouri, New York and Wisconsin.  In December 2023, the Court certified certain claims in each of those eight states. The certified class is estimated to include more than 100,000 individuals.

Although the John Deere “303” designation has been obsolete for more than 40 years and the original specification is unknown, certain lubricant manufacturers and sellers produced and sold fluid labeled as 303 tractor hydraulic fluid, purporting to be a multifunctional lubricant that offered certain protective benefits when used in tractors and heavy equipment as a hydraulic fluid, transmission fluid, and gear oil.

However, the Plaintiffs in this now-certified class action allege the 303 tractor hydraulic fluids fail to meet any manufacturers’ specifications and are made with inferior component products and used oils not appropriate for use as tractor hydraulic fluid. The Plaintiffs allege the mislabeled 303 fluids caused harm, increased wear and damage to consumers’ equipment.

The manufacturer and retailer defendants have denied the allegations and claims of wrongdoing, which include:

  • Violation of state consumer protection laws
  • Breach of express warranty
  • Breach of implied warranty
  • Unjust enrichment

WGBC has developed extensive and notable experience handling 303 tractor hydraulic fluid litigation. This includes multiple settlements that have already achieved worth tens of millions of dollars to consumers.