Hagens Berman Joins Saipan Gasoline Antitrust Lawsuit Against Shell and Mobil

Class-action lawsuit accuses Big Oil kingpins of fixing the price of unleaded gasoline on the island of Saipan, in the Northern Mariana Islands

SAIPAN, Northern Mariana Islands – Attorneys at Hagens Berman have joined a class-action lawsuit against Mobil Oil and Shell accusing the Big Oil companies of fixing the price of unleaded gasoline on the island of Saipan in the Northern Mariana Islands, in violation of consumer protection laws.

The lawsuit was originally filed in 2009, in the Superior Court of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands and states that for years the only two gasoline providers on Saipan “have colluded with each other to keep the price of unleaded fuel artificially high and to avoid competition with each other,” driving up prices for the public, who are forced to patronize these companies, because they are the only providers on Saipan.

On appeal, the court’s initial dismissal of the case was reversed, sending the lawsuit back to the trial court, which then denied a renewed motion to dismiss. Hagens Berman’s antitrust team now brings its resources and track record to the matter.

“We see ample merits to this case where we believe that for at least 16 years, Shell and Mobil have conspired to fix prices for unleaded gas on the island of Saipan at artificially high levels, where they thought no one would notice,” said Steve Berman, managing partner of Hagens Berman and attorney for the proposed class of gasoline purchasers. “We look forward to advancing this case to trial and bringing with us our deep knowledge of antitrust law and complex litigation.”

Hagens Berman is one of the most successful antitrust litigation law firms in the U.S. and has achieved record-breaking settlements in antitrust matters, taking on banks, manufacturers, drug companies, food corporations and others in massive price-fixing cases.

“Gasoline is an essential resource, and the ability of the people of Saipan to find other, competing sources, is constrained by natural barriers,” Berman added. “We believe Mobil and Shell have chosen to take advantage of a community that is already subjected to the typical uncertainty of a remote, island locale. It’s time for Mobil and Shell to be held accountable.”

An Oil “Cartel” in Saipan

The suit states that residents on the island of Saipan, which has a population of roughly 48,000 according to the 2020 census, have been victims of the price-fixing since at least 2005, and that Shell and Mobil controlled the market to the detriment of the public through restraints to free competition in business and commercial transactions.

The two oil companies are the only two “brands” of motor fuel and petroleum products sold and offered in the market of the island of Saipan. The lawsuit states that the two firms have “acted as a cartel” and change prices of regular unleaded gasoline within hours of each other, at supposedly competing locations, to the tenth of a penny. Price changes take place in lockstep, and change to exactly the same pre-agreed price.

The lawsuit seeks repayment to consumers who purchased gasoline at inflated prices, as well as an end Mobil and Shell’s antitrust behavior. Defendants are accused of violating the consumer protection laws of the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands, where Saipan is located.

The court is currently establishing the trail date and scheduling order which will set forth dates for further court hearings and appearances. The case will next move to the discovery phase and then class certification.

Find out more about the class-action lawsuit against Mobil and Shell for price-fixing in Saipan.


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About Hagens Berman
Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro LLP is a consumer-rights class-action law firm operating in 10 cities worldwide. The firm’s tenacious drive for plaintiffs’ rights has earned it numerous national accolades, awards and titles of “Most Feared Plaintiff’s Firm,” MVPs and Trailblazers of class-action law. More about the law firm and its successes can be found at www.hbsslaw.com. Follow the firm for updates and news at @ClassActionLaw.

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