CASE: Williams vs. Heritage Operating L.P., as successor in interest to peoples gas company
In 1996, Mr. Williams entered into a contract with Peoples Gas to install Propane gas plumbing, an underground Propane gas tank and related equipment, and an LP gas water heater at his home. Under that contract Peoples Gas buried a Propane tank in his lawn that it owned. Nine years later, in March 2005, Heritage Operating, the successor in interest to Peoples Gas sent him an invoice charging him an annual tank rental fee of $60.00. Mr. Williams protested the tank rental to Heritage Operating, unsuccessfully. The contract says nothing about rent for the propane tank. When Heritage Operating succeeded Peoples Gas, Peoples Gas had 70,000 customers in Florida, each of those customers had the same identical contract, which silent as to any propane tank rent.
Mr. Williams filed this Class Action lawsuit to stop Heritage Operating from charging the 70,000 Peoples Gas customers with the same contract propane tank rent, and to force Heritage Operating to refund the tank rent that it had already charged the former Peoples Gas customers back to them.
After several years of litigation, the Trial Court granted Heritage Operating’s Motion for Summary judgment, and Mr. Williams appealed to the Florida Second District Court of Appeals, who, on December 2, 2009, reversed the summary judgment. The case is now back before the trial court for continued litigation.