North Platte businessman wins lawsuit over gas price marketing

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LINCOLN, Neb. (KNOP) - UPDATE:
A judge says a North Platte businessman's practices may be "shrewd and clever" but not worthy of lawsuits. Lancaster County District Judge Robert Otte ruled Monday, July 8, to dismiss the lawsuit against Wilkinson Development, Inc., which owns the Fat Dog Convenience stores along Interstate 80 in Nebraska. There are Fat Dog stores in Lincoln, Grand Island, Lexington, North Platte, Ogallala, and Sidney.

Mark Wilkinson owns the Fat Dog stores. Wilkinson went to court in April because five people and the Coalition for Ethical Petroleum Marketing didn't like the way he would post low gas prices on his signs, but only offer those lower prices at select pumps.

Judge Otte says the Plaintiffs failed to show Wilkinson had "the intent" to deceive as required by Nebraska law. The judge did not find enough evidence that Wilkinson's practicies are misleading or deceptive within the "Uniform Deceptive Trade Practices Act."

The Judge also said Wilkinson's advertising practices did not violate the Consumer Protection Act, either.

Judge Otte ordered the plaintiffs to pay court costs associated with the law suit.

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ORIGINAL STORY: MAY 10, 2019
A judge is considering his verdict in a lawsuit that says six convenience stores along Interstate 80 in Nebraska posted misleading signs about prices.

A nonjury trial was held last in week in Lincoln in a February 2017 lawsuit filed by several individuals and the Coalition for Ethical Petroleum Marketing. It accuses North Platte-based Wilkinson Development of violating the Nebraska Uniform Deceptive Trade Practices Act and the Nebraska Consumer Protection Act.

Wilkinson is accused of advertising low prices to attract travelers to its Fat Dog stores but then selling gas at those prices only at a limited number of pumps, intentionally hoping travelers accidentally filled up with more expensive fuel. The company president has denied the accusation.

The judge is awaiting written closing arguments before rendering a verdict.