Office of the Attorney General
Attorney General Stumbo Seeks Dismissal of Lawyers in Gas Price Gouging Suit, Warns of Attack on Kentucky’s Emergency Powers

Press Release Date:  Thursday, May 24, 2007  
Contact Information:  Vicki Glass, 502-696-5643 Office  

Attorney General Greg Stumbo today filed additional pleadings in federal court supporting the 89 million dollar gas price gouging suit filed against Marathon Petroleum Company and Speedway SuperAmerica by the Commonwealth of Kentucky two weeks ago.

The filing comes as Marathon’s lawyers fight a motion to disqualify them from the case. In the motion, Stumbo notes that Frost, Brown, Todd, LLC has a contract through June 30, 2008 with the Office of the Governor under which they are permitted to represent Governor Fletcher in a variety of matters. Despite that contract, the motion alleges that Frost, Brown, Todd, LLC, on behalf of Marathon now improperly challenges the power of their own client, Governor Fletcher, to issue Executive Orders in times of emergency. In response, Marathon dropped the Governor as a named defendant in the gas price gouging lawsuit, but Stumbo says that did not cure the conflict because the lawsuit continues to challenge the Governor’s authority.

Governor Fletcher issued a Declaration of Emergency immediately following the devastating impact of Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Stumbo warns that Marathon’s attack on the Governor’s authority will “impact every arm of the Commonwealth of Kentucky called into action under the Declaration of Emergency.” Several state agencies were authorized to act under the Declaration, including:

  1. The Division of Emergency Management within the Department of Military Affairs, which was ordered to execute Kentucky’s Emergency Operations Plan;
  2. The Adjutant General, who was authorized to issue active duty orders to mobilize members of the National Guard;
  3. The Finance and Administration Cabinet, which was directed to fund the costs of the emergency operations; and
  4. The Kentucky Community Crisis Response Board, which was directed to activate trained counselors to provide crisis response services.

Stumbo points out that Marathon’s federal suit is still a “direct challenge to the Governor’s powers to declare an emergency and trigger the anti-price gouging provisions of Kentucky state law,” and renews his request that Marathon’s lawyers be disqualified from any further involvement in the action, in light of their ongoing representation of Governor Fletcher in other matters.