John Regan and Jeffrey Strom Successfully Argue Motion for Class Certification in Peterson Oil Claim


The Worcester County Superior Court recently granted a motion, brought by attorneys John Regan and Jeffrey Strom, to certify a class of over 15,000 customers of Peterson’s Oil Service, Inc. (“Peterson Oil”).

The Plaintiffs allege that they and the rest of Peterson Oil’s customers were led to believe they were purchasing ordinary, industry-standard heating oil from Peterson Oil, but instead received fuel contaminated with large quantities of biodiesel. The Plaintiffs allege that the fuel Peterson oil actually delivered: (1) repeatedly shut down customers’ heating equipment, leaving customers without heat; (2) caused long term damage to customers’ heating equipment; (3) was less efficient and contained less heating content (BTUs) than standard heating oil, forcing customers to purchase more; and (4) was worth far less to customers than the product for which they paid.

The class certification decision was the result of 3½ years of intensive litigation and was vigorously pursued on behalf of the Class by Mr. Regan and Mr. Strom, who ensured that the class certification criteria were satisfied. Among other things, the attorneys reviewed hundreds of thousands of documents, participated in over 40 depositions, filed multiple, successful motions and worked hand-in-hand with experts whose opinions were relied on in the class certification decision.

Based on the factual record presented by Mr. Regan and Mr. Strom, the Court concluded that “the plaintiffs have provided this court with sufficient information to enable it to form a reasonable judgment that the class meets both Rule 23’s and c. 93A’s requirements for class certification.” The Court noted, moreover, that the firm’s lawyers “have prosecuted this action vigorously on behalf of the class and will undoubtedly continue to do so.”

The class certification decision ensures that all of Peterson Oil’s 15,000+ customers who Plaintiffs allege suffered harm as a result of receiving fuel contaminated with large quantities of biodiesel will have their day in Court.

“The Court’s decision today is a victory for the thousands of Peterson Oil customers who received fuel contaminated with biodiesel,” said Jeffrey Strom, co-lead-counsel on the case. “This decision will allow the class representatives to proceed to trial on behalf of the 15,000+ customers we allege were harmed by Peterson Oil’s biodiesel blending. That trial will afford Peterson Oil’s customers an opportunity to have their harm redressed – an opportunity that they likely would not have had without this class certification.”

“We, along with the Class Representatives, intend to continue to vigorously represent the Class’s interests,” continued Mr. Strom, “and we will pursue every legal avenue and remedy available to us until all Peterson Oil customers who were harmed have received the compensation owed to them.”

UPDATE January 23, 2023: A Single Justice of the Appeals Court declined to overturn the Court’s class certification ruling, noting that the Superior Court’s memorandum of decision and order on this issue was “thoughtful and detailed.”

Related Links

Peterson Oil to Face Class Action Lawsuit for Allegedly Selling Bad Oil Mix,” Worcester Business Journal

Worcester Fuel Dealer Faces Class-Action Suit Over Home Heating Oil Mixture,” Boston Globe