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Siegel v. Shell Oil Co.

September 4, 2009

MICHAEL SIEGEL, ON BEHALF OF HIMSELF AND ALL OTHER SIMILARLY SITUATED, PLAINTIFF,
v.
SHELL OIL COMPANY, A DELAWARE CORPORATION, BP CORPORATION NORTH AMERICA, INC., AN INDIANA CORPORATION, CITGO PETROLEUM CORPORATION, A DELAWARE CORPORATION, MARATHON OIL COMPANY, AN OHIO CORPORATION, AND EXXON MOBIL CORPORATION, A NEW JERSEY CORPORATION, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Amy J. St. Eve, District Court Judge

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

In his five-count Amended Class Action Complaint, Plaintiff Michael Siegel alleges that Defendants Shell Oil Company, BP Corporation North America, Inc., Citgo Petroleum Corporation, Marathon Oil Company, and Exxon Mobil Corporation are liable under the Illinois Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act ("ICFA"), 815 ILCS 505/1, et. seq., for deceptive and unfair practices (Counts I and II). Siegel also brings two common law unjust enrichment claims (Counts III and IV) and a common law civil conspiracy claim (Count V). The Court previously denied Siegel's Motion for Class Certification for a national class on September 23, 2008 and Siegel's Second Amended Motion for Class Certification for an Illinois-only class on February 23, 2009. On May 1, 2009, the Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit denied Siegel's Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23(f) Petition for Leave to Appeal the Court's denial of Siegel's Motion for Class Certification for an Illinois-only class. Before the Court is Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56. For the following reasons, the Court grants Defendants' summary judgment motion in its entirety.

BACKGROUND

I. Northern District of Illinois Local Rule 56.1

When determining summary judgment motions, the Court derives the background facts from the parties' Northern District of Illinois Local Rule 56.1 statements. Specifically, Local Rule 56.1 assists the Court by "organizing the evidence, identifying undisputed facts, and demonstrating precisely how each side propose[s] to prove a disputed fact with admissible evidence." Bordelon v. Chicago Sch. Reform Bd. of Trs., 233 F.3d 524, 527 (7th Cir. 2000). Local Rule 56.1(a)(3) requires the moving party to provide "a statement of material facts as to which the moving party contends there is no genuine issue." Cracco v. Vitran Exp., Inc., 559 F.3d 625, 632 (7th Cir. 2009). "The opposing party is required to file 'a response to each numbered paragraph in the moving party's statement, including, in the case of any disagreement, specific references to the affidavits, parts of the record, and other supporting materials relied upon." Id. (citing N.D. Ill. R. 56.1(b)(3)(B)). In addition, Local Rule 56.1(b)(3)(C) requires the nonmoving party to present a separate statement of additional facts that require the denial of summary judgment. See Ciomber v. Cooperative Plus, Inc., 527 F.3d 635, 643-44 (7th Cir. 2008).

The purpose of Rule 56.1 statements is to identify the relevant evidence supporting the material facts, not to make factual or legal arguments. See Cady v. Sheahan, 467 F.3d 1057, 1060 (7th Cir. 2006). Also, the requirements for responses under Local Rule 56.1 are "not satisfied by evasive denials that do not fairly meet the substance of the material facts asserted." Bordelon, 233 F.3d at 528. The Court may disregard statements and responses that do not properly cite to the record. See Cichon v. Exelon Generation Co., L.L.C., 401 F.3d 803, 809-10 (7th Cir. 2005); see also Raymond v. Ameritech Corp., 442 F.3d 600, 604 (7th Cir. 2006) ("district courts are entitled to expect strict compliance with Local Rule 56.1"). With these standards in mind, the Court turns to the relevant facts of the case.

II. Relevant Facts

A. Parties

Plaintiff Michael Siegel is a citizen of Illinois and a resident of Cook County, Illinois, who purchased gasoline from each of the Defendants' branded gasoline stations for end use. (R. 380-1, Defs.' Rule 56.1 Stmt. Facts. ¶ 1.) Shell Oil Company is a Delaware corporation and BP Corporation North America, Inc. is an Indiana corporation that advertises the sale of gasoline in the State of Illinois. (Id. ¶¶ 2, 3.) Citgo Petroleum Corporation is a Delaware corporation that engages in advertising of gasoline in Illinois. (Id. ¶ 6.) Marathon Oil Company is an Ohio corporation and Exxon Mobil Corporation is a New Jersey corporation that through its subsidiary has sold, marketed, advertised, and distributed gasoline to consumers in Illinois. (Id. ¶¶ 4, 5.) Defendants are five of the top eight vertically integrated oil companies operating within the United States. (R. 393-1, Pl.'s Rule 56.1 Add'l Stmt. Facts ¶ 13; R. 249-2, Mem. in Support of Class Cert., at 2.)

B. Siegel's Allegations

In his Amended Class Action Complaint, Siegel alleges that he purchased Defendants' branded gasoline in Illinois from 2000 until he filed this lawsuit. (Id. ¶ 2.) He further alleges that Defendants artificially raised the price of gasoline and that he was damaged by paying higher gasoline prices than he should have paid. (Id. ¶ 1.) Specifically, Siegel contends that he purchased Defendants' gasoline at the price listed at the pump and that he bought gasoline from Defendants out of necessity. (Id. ¶¶ 3, 4.) Siegel, however, also testified that other factors affected his gasoline purchases, including price, location, quality of gasoline, convenience, and environmental concerns. (Id. ¶ 5; Defs.' Stmt. Facts ¶¶ 25, 30.) In addition, Siegel argues that Defendants -- all vertically integrated oil companies -- conspired to manipulate the nation's gasoline supply and that this conspiracy resulted in "the artificial, unreasonable and/or hyper-inflation of gas prices." (Pl.'s Stmt. Facts ¶¶ 9, 11.)

SUMMARY JUDGMENT STANDARD

Summary judgment is appropriate when "the pleadings, the discovery and disclosure materials on file, and any affidavits show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Estate of Suskovich v. Anthem Health Plans of Va., Inc., 553 F.3d 559, 563 (7th Cir. 2009) (quoting Fed. R. Civ. P 56(c)). A genuine issue of material fact exists if "the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party." Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248, 106 S.Ct. 2505, 2510, 91 L.Ed. 2d 202 (1986). In determining summary judgment motions, "facts must be viewed in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party only if there is a 'genuine' dispute as to those facts." Scott v. Harris, 550 U.S. 372, 127 S.Ct. 1769, 1776, 167 L.Ed.2d 686 (2007). The party seeking summary judgment has the burden of establishing the lack of any genuine issue of material fact. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323, 106 S.Ct. 2548, 2552, 91 L.Ed.2d 265 (1986). After "a properly supported motion for summary judgment is made, the adverse party 'must set forth specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial.'" Anderson, 477 U.S. at 255 (quotation omitted); see also Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(e)(2) (requiring adverse party to "set out specific ...


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