Waukesha-area gas stations sued Woodman's for low prices. The judge is looking to issue a decision before it reaches the jury.

·2 min read
Woodman's Markets in Waukesha is being sued by owners of some local gas stations for not complying with Wisconsin gas price fixing laws.
Woodman's Markets in Waukesha is being sued by owners of some local gas stations for not complying with Wisconsin gas price fixing laws.

At $4.57 a gallon, Waukesha Woodman’s gas prices are lower than the metro average by about 20 cents.

But are they illegally so? Three nearby gas stations think so.

The gas stations filed a lawsuit arguing that Woodman’s sold gasoline at lower prices than state requirements on at least 40 of the last 180 days. Waukesha County Circuit Court Judge William Domina is reviewing a motion for summary judgement and is expected to issue a decision on the case before it gets to the jury.

Wisconsin law requires that retailers sell fuel at least 6% above original buying price, unless they are matching prices of a competitor or hosting specific sales.

The owners of BP and Shell, both within a mile of Woodman's, sued. Later, a third plaintiff joined, located at another BP station about 1 mile from the others.

New Berlin resident Alice Thanas has sought out Woodman’s to fill up her car for years.

“The price here is always lower,” Thanas said. “So that’s why I come here.”

On Thursday morning, Woodman’s price for regular gas was posted at $4.57 a gallon. To compare, BP sold its regular gas at $4.79 a gallon, and Shell and the other BP sold at $4.70. Woodman's had a constant stream of customers, but the nearby BP stood empty.

Woodman’s attorneys filed a motion for a summary judgement, arguing that their prices were lawful because they matched the prices of the Pewaukee Costco gas station 5 miles away. On Thursday, that station also had regular gas posted at $4.57 a gallon.

The case is scheduled for jury trial on Oct. 18-20.

Woodman’s attorney Eric Meier declined to comment, and plaintiff attorney Brent Nistler did not respond to a request to speak on the case. The Woodman’s owner was not interested in speaking, and a clerk on duty also declined to comment,

Thanas said the prices have been lower at Woodman’s for years.

“So that’s why I come here and also at the same time I do my grocery here,” Thanas said.

Lydia Morrell can be reached at 320-444-2339 or lmorrell@gannett.com. Follow her on Twitter at @lydia_morrell

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This article originally appeared on Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Waukesha-area gas stations sue Woodman's for low prices